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Gene variant may increase blood pressure in black people

By
Tauren Dyson
Researchers say 17 variants of the gene ARMC5 may be linked to blood pressure in black people. Photo by ronstik/Shutterstock
Researchers say 17 variants of the gene ARMC5 may be linked to blood pressure in black people. Photo by ronstik/Shutterstock

July 5 (UPI) -- Black people with various forms of a specific gene may be more susceptible to high blood pressure, a new study says.

Researchers say 17 variants of the gene ARMC5 may be linked to blood pressure in that group, according to research published in Wednesday in Journal of the American Heart Association.

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"High blood pressure increases a person's risk for heart disease and stroke," said Constantine A. Stratakis, who runs the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and study senior author, in a news release. "The condition is more common among blacks, who also tend to get it at a younger age than whites do, and we are studying the underlying causes of this health disparity."

For the study, the researchers pulled together genetic data from a minority genomics database produced by the National Institute of Health and past research that explored the impact of genes and the environment the cardiovascular health black people. They combined those two sources with data from the UK Biobank.

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After using cell lines to reconstruct the rs116201073 variant, the researchers discovered the variant was more active than other ARMC5 gene variants.

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They also linked rs116201073, a variant unique to people African ancestry only, to lower blood pressure.

Even with this discovery, the researchers say it's unclear how ARMC5 influences blood pressure levels in black people.

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"Collectively, our research suggests that ARMC5 may play an important role in regulating blood pressure in blacks," said Mihail Zilbermint, a researcher at NICHD and study co-lead author, in a news release. "Because the gene is linked to primary aldosteronism, ARMC5 may be involved in how the adrenal glands function and with the hormones that are important for regulating blood pressure."

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