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International study identifies new gene targets for hypertension treatment
Date:9/11/2011

han 133,000 additional individuals of European descent. Combining the results identified 28 gene regions associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, of which 16 were novel. A second paper from the consortium also receiving online publication today in Nature Genetics, identified six additional novel variants..

Some of the new variants were already known to cause other diseases. "We were quite astonished to see that two common variants known for decades to cause hemochromatosis an iron overload condition that affects as many as 1 in 300 Americans were also associated with higher blood pressure," says Newton-Cheh. "The hemochromatosis genes are part of a physiologic pathway that is also involved in pulmonary hypertension, but this finding opens our eyes to its potential involvement in systemic hypertension."

To test whether the blood pressure variants identified in Europeans were associated with blood pressure in other ethnicities, the consortium genotyped almost 74,000 individuals of either East Asian, South Asian or African ancestries. Genetic risk scores incorporating all identified variants were strongly associated with blood pressure levels in each of those groups and also with the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. "Seeing that the blood pressure variants in aggregate lead to stroke and heart attack was perhaps not surprising, given the evidence that blood pressure treatment lowers these risks," said Newton-Cheh.

But the most important finding may be identification of a new pathway central to blood pressure regulation. Three of the 28 blood-pressure-associated regions include genes that are part of a pathway called the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) system, which is involved in the relaxation of blood vessels and excretion of sodium by the kidneys, two fundamental mechanisms of hypertension treatment. Animal studies have suggested a role for this pathway in blood pressure control, and the cur
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Contact: Kristen Stanton
kstanton3@partners.org
617-643-3907
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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