Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews


Print Page Follow BioNews on Twitter BioNews RSS feed

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



The Fertility Show





Blood pressure linked to genetic variations

19 September 2011

By Dr Zara Mahmoud

Appeared in BioNews 625

Scientists have identified 29 regions of the genome associated with hypertension in people of European origin. Of these, 16 areas contained completely new genes, which had not been previously associated with the risk of developing high blood pressure.

These data arise from two related studies carried out by scientists collaborating on a project led by the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-wide association studies (ICBP-GWAS).

'Your blood pressure is a function of these genes we just identified as well as perhaps a hundred others we haven't found yet', said Dr Aravinda Chakravarti, one of the researchers involved in the study.

Scientists used a GWAS analysis to study differences in SNPs between people with raised and normal blood pressure. SNPs are single letter changes in the genetic sequence, which can provide valuable clues to help pinpoint genes that differ between low-risk and high-risk individuals.

The first study, published in Nature, looked at SNP patterns in 20,000 individuals of European origin. Of the 16 new SNPs identified, six were located in regions suspected to be associated with blood pressure regulation, while the remaining ten were located in regions which have never been linked to blood pressure.

Professor Mark Caulfield, from Barts and The London Medical School, and a lead researcher in this study told the BBC that each of these genetic variants would be in at least five percent of people.

A related study, published in Nature Genetics, sought to identify regions of the genome which might influence pulse pressure (PP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP), high levels of which have been thought to increase risk of cardiovascular disease.

A GWAS involving over 70,000 individuals identified four new PP SNP regions and two new MAP SNP regions. Interestingly, three of the PP regions identified seemed to have opposite influences on systolic (measured while the heart is contracting and pumping blood into the arteries) and diastolic (measured the arteries while the heart is filling with blood between beats) blood pressure. Previously identified PP regions have always shown complementary effects on both types of blood pressure. Both studies provide valuable new clues to physiological processes associated with high blood pressure, and may be useful in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

However, the British Heart Foundation's medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg warned that genes are 'only part of the puzzle'. 'You are less likely to have high blood pressure if you stick to a healthy diet, do plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy weight', he said.

 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

26 November 2012 - by Lucy Harris 
Mutations in the genes for aldosterone and cortisol, hormones that regulate the circulatory system, have been identified as risk factors for hypertension, or high blood pressure... [Read More]
13 February 2012 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud 
A sixth of men have a genetic variant which could increase their risk of heart disease by up to 56 percent, according to a recent study... [Read More]
10 October 2011 - by Luciana Strait 
A new gene has been associated with thickening of the heart which increases chances of heart failure. Researchers at Imperial College London found that faults in the gene called endocuclease G or 'Endog' influences the thickness of the muscular heart wall, how effectively the heart pumps blood and how much fat accumulates in the heart.... [Read More]

12 April 2010 - by Charlie McDermott 
Stem cell-derived blood vessels grown in the lab could replace artificial versions currently used in heart bypass surgery, following a recent animal study... [Read More]
23 March 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens 
The NHS Blood and Transplant Authority, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and the Wellcome Trust have jointly announced a pioneering project to create a potentially unlimited supply of blood for transfusions using embryonic stem (ES) cells derived from surplus IVF embryos which are donated for research... [Read More]
04 January 2009 - by Sarah Guy 
An estimated 20 per cent of Caucasians carry a gene variant that could raise the risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension, as it is also called. US scientists at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine analysed the DNA of 542 members of the Old... [Read More]

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

 


 

- click here to enquire about using this story.

Printer Friendly Page

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
PET CONFERENCE
COMMERCIALISATION OF LIFE


Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's conference 'The Commercialisation of Life', taking place in central London on Tuesday 2 December

London, 2 December
Click HERE for details

FREE EVENT
GENETIC CONDITIONS


'Genetic Conditions: How Should Your DNA Be Used in the 100,000 Genomes Project?', a FREE public event being organised by the Progress Educational Trust in central London on the evening of Thursday 6 November 2014

London, 6 November
Click HERE for details

Good Fundraising Code

Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details