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Genome-wide hunts reveal new regulators of blood pressure
Date:9/11/2011

A study involving more than 200,000 people worldwide has identified 29 DNA sequence variations in locations across the human genome that influence blood pressure. These genes, whose sequence changes are associated with alterations in blood pressure and are linked to heart disease and stroke, were found with the help of decades' worth of population data that were pooled and analyzed by a large international consortium, including Johns Hopkins researchers.

Among the findings was evidence that the same common genetic variants associated with hypertension in European populations also are frequently found in individuals of Asian and African ancestry, according to the report that appears September 11 in Nature.

"A genetic risk score that adds up the effects of all of these variants shows that the more of these variants an individual has, the greater are his or her chances of having hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease," says Aravinda Chakravarti, Ph.D., a professor of medicine, pediatrics and molecular biology and genetics at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins, and one of the lead authors.

The individuals whose genomes were analyzed for this study had their blood pressures recorded when they originally entered other long-term cardiovascular research studies, and scientists used these measures to assess the predictive value of the genes and blood pressures in terms of the subjects' current cardiovascular status.

This genome-wide association study focused on systolic and diastolic blood pressures: measures of the maximum and minimum pressures exerted on the arteries. However, in a related genome-wide investigation reported September 11 in Nature Genetics, the same scientists found an additional six locations across the genome where variants affect blood pressure by focusing on two other relevant measures: pulse pressure (the difference
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Contact: Maryalice Yakutchik
myakutc1@jhmi.edu
443-287-2251
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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