Discovery of blood pressure genes could help prevent cardiovascular disease

Posted by pt91 at Sep 12, 2011 10:20 AM |
Measurements can predict hypertension and cardiovascular disease

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 12 September 2011

Researchers from the University of Leicester have co-led international research that represents a major advance in our understanding the causes of high blood pressure.

Findings, published today in Nature and Nature Genetics (11/9/2011) by the International Consortium for Blood Pressure Genome-Wide Association Studies provide a link to biological mechanisms which could be targeted to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

The research published in Nature Genetics was co- led by Louise Wain and Martin Tobin from the University of Leicester, together with investigators from Imperial College London and from Rotterdam. It reports on the identification of gene regions for two types of blood pressure measurement; pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure. Both measurements can predict hypertension and cardiovascular disease.  The research uncovered four new gene regions for pulse pressure and two for mean arterial pressure indicating novel genetic mechanisms underlying blood pressure variation.

Dr Louise Wain  said: "Our study shows the importance of looking at different measures of blood pressure in order to identify new genetic variants that affect levels of blood pressure in the population."

Professor Martin Tobin said: “High blood pressure is very common in the East Midlands and affects over 1 billion people worldwide. Even small changes in blood pressure increase risk of stroke and heart attack. Our findings represent a significant step in improving our understanding of how and why blood pressure is raised, which is crucial in developing new treatments.”

Professor Nilesh Samani, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester  said:  “These studies could offer new avenues for future blood pressure treatment, to prevent heart disease and stroke. We would like to thank participants in local clinical studies, such as the GRAPHIC Study, which have contributed to the research findings reported in both of these papers. This work illustrates the type of world-leading research that the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit is involved in.”

Blood pressure is influenced by a combination of lifestyle factors and genes which until now have proved challenging to identify. 

These important findings published in Nature and Nature Genetics were made possible by funding from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, and the National Institute for Health Research.

Click here to read the national version of this release.


For further information contact:

Ather Mirza

Press Office

University of Leicester

tel: 0116 252 3335


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