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Genetic Variants Associated with Blood Pressure Variations

Alleles linked to higher natriuretic peptide levels associated with lower hypertension risk

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic variants at the NPPA-NPPB locus may influence hypertension due to effects on natriuretic peptide concentrations, according to research published online Feb. 15 in Nature Genetics.

Christopher Newton-Cheh, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues began looking at 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that captured most of the common variation at the NPPA-NPPB (natriuretic peptide precursor A and natriuretic peptide precursor B) locus. The authors eventually narrowed their focus on rs5068 and rs198358.

Those carrying the rs5068 minor allele had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than individuals who were major allele homozygotes, the researchers report. The same was true of carriers of the rs198358 minor allele. The minor alleles of these were also associated with higher atrial natriuretic peptide and B-type natriuretic peptide. Further work determined that alleles associated with higher natriuretic peptide were linked to lower risk of hypertension.

"Therapeutic agents that chronically activate the natriuretic peptide system are under active development. Our finding that genetic variation found associated with natriuretic peptide concentrations was also associated with blood pressure and hypertension suggests that these agents might prove useful for the treatment of hypertension. However, clinical and mechanistic studies with in-depth phenotyping are necessary to explore the role of these genetic variants in blood pressure regulation and cardiovascular physiology," the authors conclude.

Three of the study co-authors disclose financial relationships with IKARIA/INO Therapeutics, BRAHMS, and Correlagen Diagnostics.

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