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  HYPERTENSION, DIABETES AND RENAL DISEASES 

Minerva Medica 2004 October;95(5):347-56

Copyright © 2004 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Genetics of human arterial hypertension

Naber C. K., Siffert W.


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Arterial hypertension is one of the major cardiovascular risk factors in Western countries. Besides some well established, but rather rare forms of secondary hypertension, essential hypertension is the most common diagnosis. The hereditary nature of this disease has been well established in many familial studies. The quantitative contribution of genetic factors to blood pressure variance is estimated to be about 30%, however, the genetic background of essential hypertension is complex and currently not fully understood. Besides few monogenetic forms of Mendelian transmitted hypertension, current efforts are usually directed at the identification of single contributing genetic factors. This review is thought to highlight current strategies towards a better understanding of the genetic background of essential hypertension with particular respect to genetic variants of the renin-angiotensin system, of signaling pathways such as heterotrimeric G-proteins and a-adducin. Moreover, genetic association studies often fail to replicate findings from previous studies. This may be in part due to the polygenetic nature of the disease. Another potential reason may be the diversity of the investigated populations. The current results of genetic analyses of essential hypertension highlight, thus, the need for a more differentiated approach to the understanding of complex, polygenetic traits implementing gene-gene-, and gene-environment interactions or distinguished functional testing of thoroughly phenotyped cohorts under standardised environmental conditions.

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