Molecular Genetics of Human Blood Pressure Variation

Science  03 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5262, pp. 676-680
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5262.676


Hypertension is a common multifactorial vascular disorder of largely unknown cause. Recognition that hypertension is in part genetically determined has motivated studies to identify mutations that confer susceptibility. Thus far, mutations in at least 10 genes have been shown to alter blood pressure; most of these are rare mutations imparting large quantitative effects that either raise or lower blood pressure. These mutations alter blood pressure through a common pathway, changing salt and water reabsorption in the kidney. These findings demonstrate the utility of molecular genetic approaches to the understanding of blood pressure variation and may provide insight into the physiologic mechanisms underlying common forms of hypertension.

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