New genes have been identified that have a critical effect on the control of blood pressure levels and hypertension. This latest information, provided by studies led by the Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge, could lead the way to new therapeutic targets in the fight against hypertension and other cardiometabolic diseases.
347,000 people from countries throughout Europe and further afield were chosen to take part from a combination of individuals with no health issues, and those with diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease. Because of the scale of the study, investigators were able to identify genetic variants, carried by less than 1% of the population, that have a significant impact on the regulation of blood pressure. These included a gene involved in modifying RNA, known to be implicated in a syndrome characterised by heart anomalies; a second responsible for collagen formation in tissues including the heart and aorta; and a third coding for an enzyme that has an important role in the regulation of blood pressure.
This knowledge of the genetic risk factors adds flesh to the previously known link between blood pressure and conditions such as coronary heart disease and stroke; highlighting new information about the biological development of the diseases, and therefore potential for the development of new drugs to more accurately target the conditions in the future.