New hypertension genes are identified

May 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM
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BALTIMORE, May 13 (UPI) -- A U.S.-led team of scientists says it has identified genes associated with blood pressure and hypertension, possibly leading to new hypertension therapy.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and collaborators focused on common genetic changes associated with blood pressure and hypertension.

"Strikingly, none of the genes we identified as having common variation are part of the system we know about that regulates blood pressure -- the genes identified are not the ones targeted by current prescription drugs to control hypertension," said Aravinda Chakravarti, director of the university's Center for Complex Disease Genomics. "If we can increase the number of genes implicated in blood pressure maintenance from the current 12 to the expected 50 in the next year, our understanding of the biology will change completely."

He said the study supports the idea that changes in many genes contribute to high blood pressure and hypertension, which are difficult to study since hypertension "is a trait, not a disease per se unless left untreated, and many things contribute to it."

The research is reported in the online early edition of the journal Nature Genetics.

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