Researchers Uncover Genetic Variants Linked to Blood Pressure in African-Americans
A team led by researchers discovered genetic variants related to blood pressure in African-Americans, findings that may provide new clues to treating and preventing hypertension. The effort marks the first time that a relatively new research approach, called a genome-wide association study, has focused on blood pressure and hypertension in an African-American population.
Akinso: Researchers discovered genes related to hypertension in African Americans.
Rotimi: Hypertension is a major problem in African Americans; actually it's a major problem world wide.
Akinso: Dr. Charles Rotimi is a National Human Genome Research Institute senior investigator and director of the trans-NIH Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health.
Rotimi: Over one third of the adult population in the United States has hypertension and that problem is typically worse for African Americans where close to 40 percent have hypertension. So it's a major problem in terms of heart diseases stroke and kidney disease.
Akinso: Researchers found five genetic variants related to blood pressure in African Americans, findings that may provide new clues to treating and preventing hypertension. This effort marks the first time that a relatively new research approach, called a genome-wide association study, has focused on blood pressure and hypertension in an African American population. Dr. Rotimi says the goal of the study was to come up with a better understanding of hypertension in African Americans.
Rotimi: We really wanted to put together a large cohort of African American families and also unrelated individuals to understand all of these conditions that is very, very prevalent in African American communities.
Akinso: Researchers analyzed DNA samples from over 1,000 participants in the Howard University Family Study, a multigenerational study of African American families from the Washington D.C., metropolitan area. Half of the volunteers had hypertension and half did not. Dr. Rotimi explains why these findings are promising.
Rotimi: Our findings are really, really exciting for us. We're able to pick out several genes or even information, what we call markers, near some genes, that we think are very promising in terms of our ability to understand hypertension and even to treat it.
Akinso: Dr. Rotimi is optimistic that these findings could help improve treatment options for African Americans, as well as other populations at risk for hypertension.
Rotimi: We hope that this will actually add to our understanding of why people get hypertension specifically also in African Americans and hopefully this can go to the level where we can either do more preventive strategy or actually become a source of understanding the biology and treatment for hypertension in all human population.
Akinso: For more information on this study, visit www.genome.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Charles Rotimi