Largest genetic blood pressure study ever
The largest genetic analysis ever performed on more than a million people has identified 535 new genes associated with high blood pressure.
The international team included Professor Jo Knight from Lancaster University School of Medicine, who holds the Chair of Applied Data Science.
The researchers concluded, “The combined effect of all associated variants shows significant aggregate risk, warranting further investigation into a potential precision medicine strategy to prevent future cardiovascular disease in patients at high genetic risk.”
High blood pressure is a highly heritable and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
All the genetic variants identified so far only explain between 3% and 4% of the difference between two people with different blood pressures.
But this new study has identified three times as many genetic traits that influence blood pressure.
The findings, published in Natural geneticsidentified novel biological pathways for blood pressure regulation with the potential to improve cardiovascular disease prevention in the future.
Scientists have screened approximately 7 million common genetic variants for an association with systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as pulse pressure.
They identified a total of 535 new genes influencing blood pressure in an individual, bringing the total number of genes identified to 901.
The researchers said: “The combination of all blood pressure variants is associated with 10 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure and odds of 2.59 and 1.45 for increased risk of hypertension and outcome. cardiovascular, respectively.”
There is also a genetic overlap between hypertension and lifestyle exposures, with many blood pressure genes also being associated with, for example, consumption of fruit, water, tea, caffeine, alcohol and salt.
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