Sex differences in toll like receptor 7-mediated renal injury in a murine model of autoimmune-induced hypertension
D'Souza, Bradley M.
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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a female-dominant autoimmune disease associated with hypertension. We confirmed that SLE develops later in life in male vs. female SLE mice (35 vs. [less than] 30 weeks), yet both sexes develop hypertension by 35 weeks. Renal injury is a factor in hypertensive female SLE mice only, so we aimed to investigate this latent sex difference. We hypothesized that increased toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7), an immune mediator that instigates tissue damage, promotes renal injury in female SLE mice. We found that renal cortical expression of TLR7 was indeed higher in female SLE mice. In a follow-up study we found that renal hemodynamics were impaired in female SLE mice, but not males. Our data suggest that while the hypertension in female SLE mice may be due to renal mechanisms, hypertension in males is not. Future studies will dissect sex-specific factors that should be considered when treating hypertensive patients with underlying autoimmunity.