"We have previously shown that variants in natriuretic peptide genes, part of the cGMP system, influence blood pressure. We were therefore pleased but not surprised to see other genes that influence the cGMP system in this recent crop of discoveries," said Newton-Cheh, an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The greatest attention in blood pressure research has been focused on another pathway called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), which is targeted by several hypertension therapies. But only one common gene variant has been associated with genes in the RAAS pathway.
"Finding several independent associations that converge on cGMP points to its central importance in blood pressure control," he adds. "In fact, there are several drugs that target these systems in development to treat pulmonary hypertension and heart failure, but our findings suggest that they could have a much larger role in hypertension treatment in general. The next phase of our research will focus on finding additional genes and variants that influence blood pressure and on establishing how some of the cGMP-involved genes affect blood pressure in humans and respond to existing drugs and to those in development."
|Contact: Kristen Stanton|
Massachusetts General Hospital