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blood pressure, disease susceptibility, genetic heterogeneity, genetics, human, hypertension, mutations, polygenic inheritance, renin-angiotensin system, sodium metabolism



  1. Ambler, S. Kelly PhD
  2. Brown, R. Dale PhD


Blood pressure homeostasis in humans reflects the coordinate interactions of cardiac output, peripheral vascular resistance, renal volume control, and CNS integration in response to short- and long-term environmental stimuli. Variations in mean arterial pressure within the population include a significant hereditary component. The clearest examples of this genetic contribution occur in rare forms of monogenic hypertension (glucocorticoid remediable aldosteronism, apparent mineralocoid excess, Liddle's syndrome) or hypotension (pseudohypoaldosteronism type I, Bartter's syndrome, Gitelman's syndrome). Primary hypertension, which comprises approximately 95% of hypertensives and is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, and renal disease in the U.S., represents a multifactorial and polygenic disease with incremental contributions from genetic and environmental determinants. Efforts to date have identified several candidate genes involved in primary hypertension, including angiotensinogen (AGT), a vasoactive peptide; [alpha]-adducin, a protein that regulates sodium transport; and the G protein [beta]3 subunit, a protein involved in intracellular signal transduction. Advances in knowledge and technology associated with the Human Genome Project, combined with continuing basic research on the physiologic and biochemical causes of hypertension, offer promise for improved diagnosis and therapy of this prevalent disease.