Intranet Čeština

Genetics of Model Diseases

Genetics of Model Diseases

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of several risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. These pathological conditions are determined multifactorially by many genes and their interactions with environmental effects. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) in humans which are based on the “common variants – common diseases“ hypothesis identified only a minor proportion of the total heritability of complex traits so far.

Statistically significant variants (SNPs – single nucleotide polymorphisms) are typically associated with a miniscule phenotypic variability without meaningful clinical effects. Studies in animal models of human complex diseases can provide a useful alternative. Experiments with rat models can control for both genetic background and environmental effects as well as enable genetic manipulation of experimental animals. The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is the most widely used animal model of essential hypertension and associated metabolic disturbances typical for metabolic syndrome. Although it cannot be expected that the individual predisposing genes themselves might be conserved between rats and humans, it is likely that the networks and pathways of genes leading to disease susceptibility will be conserved across species. Therefore, identification of the networks and pathways of genes underlying the cellular pathology of disease phenotypes in the rat could provide insight into the pathogenesis and treatment of the corresponding human diseases.

Our research is focused on these projects:

  • Identification of genes that regulate hemodynamic and metabolic traits in the SHR.
  • Identification of new genes coding for mitochondrial proteins and their role in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome.
  • Derivation of new animal models using highly effective methods for transgenesis and gene targeting.
  • Study of the role of inflammatory processes and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome and possibility of pharmacologic interventions.


Current grant support.


Linkage and correlation analyses of intermediary phenotypes in the SHR for identification of candidate genes regulating pathophysiological traits

For genetic dissection of complex pathophysiological traits in recombinant inbred (RI) strains, it is possible to take the advantage of accumulated genotypes and intermediary phenotypes. Intermediate phenotypes have simpler genetic architectures and can be used for connecting variabilty at the DNA level with complex pathophysiological traits. Abundance of mRNA (transcriptome), proteins (proteome), metabolites (metabolome), etc. are the most widely used intermediary phenotypes.  More

In vivo functional analyses of candidate genes for hemodynamic and metabolic traits

Candidate genes for pathophysiological traits, identified by linkage and correlation analyses with intermediary phenotypes and by their sequencing, are tested by in vivo functional analysis in transgenic rescue or knockout experiments with the aim to identify quantitative trait loci at the molecular level and analyze responsible pathophysiological mechanisms.  More


Šilhavý, Jan - Mlejnek, Petr - Šimáková, Miroslava - Vaněčková, Ivana - Behuliak, Michal - Kuda, Ondřej - Sticová, E. - Jirsa, M. - Pravenec, Michal . Acute toxic effects of telmisartan in spontaneously hypertensive rats fed a high fructose diet . Physiological Research 2018, 67(6), 851-856 . IF = 1.324 [ASEP]
Šilhavý, Jan - Krijt, J. - Sokolová, J. - Zídek, Václav - Mlejnek, Petr - Šimáková, Miroslava - Škop, V. - Trnovská, J. - Oliyarnyk, O. - Marková, I. - Hüttl, M. - Malínská, H. - Kazdová, L. - Liška, F. - Kožich, V. - Pravenec, Michal . Dissecting the role of Folr1 and Folh1 genes in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome in spontaneously hypertensive rats . Physiological Research 2018, 67(4), 657-662 . IF = 1.324 [ASEP]
Pravenec, Michal - Saba, L. M. - Zídek, Václav - Landa, Vladimír - Mlejnek, Petr - Šilhavý, Jan - Šimáková, Miroslava - Strnad, Hynek - Trnovská, J. - Škop, V. - Hüttl, M. - Marková, I. - Oliyarnyk, O. - Malínská, H. - Kazdová, L. - Smith, H. - Tabakoff, B. Systems genetic analysis of brown adipose tissue function . Physiological Genomics 2018, roč. 50, 1, p. 52-66 . IF = 2.782 [ASEP] [ doi ]
Pravenec, Michal - Leung, K.-Y. - Zídek, Václav - Mlejnek, Petr - Šimáková, Miroslava - Šilhavý, Jan - Kožich, V. - Greene, N. D. E. Genetically Determined Folate Deficiency Is Associated With Abnormal Hepatic Folate Profiles in the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat . Physiological Research 2018, roč. 67, 3, p. 417-422 . IF = 1.324 [ASEP]
Nedvědová, I. - Kolář, D. - Elsnicová, B. - Horníková, D. - Novotný, J. - Kalous, M. - Pravenec, Michal - Neckář, Jan - Kolář, František - Žurmanová, J.M. Mitochondrial genome modulates myocardial Akt/Glut/HK salvage pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats adapted to chronic hypoxia . Physiological Genomics 2018, roč. 50, 7, p. 532-541 . IF = 2.782 [ASEP] [ doi ]


Institute of Physiology AS CR, v.v.i.
Department of Genetics of Model Diseases

Vídeňská 1083
14220 Prague 4
Czech Republic
tel. +420 241 062 297
fax. +420 241 062 488


Ing. Michal Pravenec, DrSc.

head of the department

Ing. Jan Šilhavý, PhD.
deputy head of the department

Ing. Václav Zídek, CSc.

senior researcher

Ing. Miroslava Šimáková, PhD.

senior researcher

Ing. Petr Mlejnek, PhD.
senior researcher

doc. MUDr. František Liška, PhD.

senior researcher

  Ing. Magdalena Melčová
PhD student
Alena Musilová