Left ventricular mass (LVM) and cardiac gene expression are complex traits regulated by factors both intrinsic and extrinsic to the heart. To dissect the major determinants of LVM, we combined expression quantitative trait locus and quantitative trait transcript (QTT) analyses of the cardiac transcriptome in the rat. Using these methods and in vitro functional assays, we identified osteoglycin (Ogn) as a major candidate regulator of rat LVM, with increased Ogn protein expression associated with elevated LVM. We also applied genome-wide QTT analysis to the human heart and observed that, out of ∼22,000 transcripts, OGN transcript abundance had the highest correlation with LVM. We further confirmed a role for Ogn in the in vivo regulation of LVM in Ogn knockout mice. Taken together, these data implicate Ogn as a key regulator of LVM in rats, mice and humans, and suggest that Ogn modifies the hypertrophic response to extrinsic factors such as hypertension and aortic stenosis.
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