Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Discovery of blood pressure genes could help prevent cardiovascular disease

Findings, published today in Nature and Nature Genetics (11/9/2011) by the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Studies represent a major advance in our understanding of the inherited influences on blood pressure and offer new potential therapeutic targets for prevention of heart disease and stroke – the biggest cause of death worldwide.

Research published in Nature and co-led by scientists from Queen Mary, University of London has discovered 16 new gene regions that influence blood pressure.

Toby Johnson, Patricia Munroe and Mark Caulfield from Barts and The London Medical School co-led with US and European colleagues an international collaborative study involving 351 scientists from 234 institutions based in 24 countries around the world. This study analysed data on over 270,000 people to find genetic variations in the DNA of each person that were associated with higher or lower blood pressure. This enabled them to identify 16 new gene regions influencing blood pressure and provided confirmation of 12 other gene regions that had previously been discovered by the Barts and The London team.

The researchers then combined the effects of genetic variation in all 28 gene regions and showed that these impact upon the risk of developing hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and structural changes in the heart. The combined effect of these variations on blood pressure is similar to the effect of a standard blood pressure lowering medicine. Importantly, they showed that genetic effects on blood pressure are broadly similar in people of European, East Asian, South Asian, and African ancestries.

Blood pressure is influenced by a combination of lifestyle factors and genes which until now have proved challenging to identify. Even small changes in blood pressure can increase risk of stroke and heart attack and over one billion people worldwide have high blood pressure – hypertension.

Professor Mark Caulfield, who is also President of the British Hypertension Society, said: "High blood pressure affects a quarter of the adult population in the UK. These new gene regions we report today offer a major leap forward in our understanding of the inherited influences on blood pressure and offer new potential avenues for treatment which is particularly welcome for those who do not achieve optimal blood pressure control."

Professor Patricia Munroe said: "This large multicentre collaboration has yielded many new genes for blood pressure, determining which gene and their function will improve our understanding of the basic architecture of hypertension, and should facilitate new therapeutic drug development."

Dr Toby Johnson said: "There were enormous challenges to overcome in collecting and analysing the amount of data we needed for this study. Our discoveries illustrate the power of international collaborative research."

A related study published today, in Nature Genetics and co- led by Louise Wain and Martin Tobin from the University of Leicester, and Paul Elliott from Imperial College London, reports on the identification of gene regions for two further types of blood pressure measurement; pulse pressure (PP) and mean arterial pressure (MAP). Both measurements can predict hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The research uncovered four new gene regions for pulse pressure and two for mean arterial pressure indicating novel genetic mechanisms underlying blood pressure variation.

Louise Wain (University of Leicester) said: "Our study shows the importance of looking at different measures of blood pressure in order to identify new genetic variants that affect levels of blood pressure in the population."

Paul Elliott (Imperial College London) said: "Pulse pressure is a marker of the stiffness of the arteries that carry blood from the heart round the body. Our results could help understanding about the genetic mechanisms underlying relationships of pulse pressure with risk of heart disease and stroke."

These important findings published in Nature and Nature Genetics were made possible by funding from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, and the National Institute for Health Research, and provide greater understanding of the genetic architecture of blood pressure, a key determinant of cardiovascular health.

Alex Fernandes | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Here comes the long-sought-after iron-munching microbe
25.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques
25.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>