Increased prevalence of EPAS1 variant in cattle with high-altitude pulmonary hypertension.

Newman JH, Holt TN, Cogan JD, Womack B, Phillips JA, Li C, Kendall Z, Stenmark KR, Thomas MG, Brown RD, Riddle SR, West JD, Hamid R
Nat Commun. 2015 6: 6863

PMID: 25873470 · PMCID: PMC4399003 · DOI:10.1038/ncomms7863

High-altitude pulmonary hypertension (HAPH) has heritable features and is a major cause of death in cattle in the Rocky Mountains, USA. Although multiple genes are likely involved in the genesis of HAPH, to date no major gene variant has been identified. Using whole-exome sequencing, we report the high association of an EPAS1 (HIF2α) double variant in the oxygen degradation domain of EPAS1 in Angus cattle with HAPH, mean pulmonary artery pressure >50 mm Hg in two independent herds. Expression analysis shows upregulation of 26 of 27 HIF2α target genes in EPAS1 carriers with HAPH. Of interest, this variant appears to be prevalent in lowland cattle, in which 41% of a herd of 32 are carriers, but the variant may only have a phenotype when the animal is hypoxemic at altitude. The EPAS1 variant will be a tool to determine the cells and signalling pathways leading to HAPH.

MeSH Terms (12)

Alleles Altitude Sickness Animals Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors Cattle Cattle Diseases Female Genetic Predisposition to Disease Genetic Variation Hypertension, Pulmonary Male Up-Regulation

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