Genetic Cause For Hypertension
According to a multinational research project conducted by the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow, scientists were able to identify a genetic determinant factor which can led to hypertension. This finding is very important because in the future scientists will be able to determine patient’s susceptibility to develop high blood pressure.
It is known that hypertension or high blood pressure is an inherited condition which appears as a result of interaction between genetic factors and environmental factors. To date, genes that are involved in the arising of this condition have proven difficult to be identified, but with this research project, researchers were able to identify a common mutation which is located on the genes that regulate the production of aldosterone and cortisol (important hormones secreted by adrenal glands) as being influential in high blood pressure development. This genes are represented by the corticosteroidogenic genes CYP11B2 and CYP11B1.
“It has proved very difficult to identify genetic causes of hypertension but this research shows that a gene variation that is present in around 40% of the population is a significant factor. Drugs targeting aldosterone are already used in the treatment of hypertension, so this study emphasises that these should be more widely used. It will also inform the development of other therapies that could affect the way that aldosterone is produced. We know that the effects of aldosterone are amplified by a high salt diet, so this could give an important clue to an interaction between a common genetic variation and the environment.”, said Professor John Connell, Vice-Principal of the University of Dundee, who led the project.
The research project, led by Professor Connell (University of Dundee) and Professor Eleanor Davies (University of Glasgow), in collaboration with partners across the UK and Europe including the Universities of Cambridge, Aberdeen, Queen Mary London, Oxford and Leicester, was funded by the Medical Research Council and the results of this study by Hypertension, the journal of American Heart Association.
In this study were processed data on more than 3000 patients that were included in the MRC BRIGHT (British Genetics of Hypertension) study and on 2900 patients included in the NORDIL (Nordic Diltiazem) study and the Malmo Cancer and Diet Study. Scientists are satisfied with the results of this study, because this research project was built on theoretical models according to which gene variations that control aldosterone and cortisol synthesis could represent a risk for hypertension, theory which was confirmed by laboratory findings.
“We will now look to carry out further research, particularly with regard to the importance of genetically determined variation in aldosterone in other forms of cardiovascular disease.”, professor Connell added.