Dec 30, 2008

Gene linked to High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified a gene variant that most likely contributes towards high blood pressure in human. The discovery is a result of a new technique called genome-wide association study and it could lead to formulation of new therapies to combat high blood pressure.

The gene, named as STK39, is located in chromosome 2. It produces a protein that most likely regulates how the kidneys process salt and plays a key role in determining blood pressure. During the study the researchers analyzed the genes of 542 people who were members of the Old Order Amish community in Pennsylvania, who were ideal for such studies, because its members are relatively isolated and share a similar rural lifestyle and diet.

Then, the researchers cross checked their findings with another group of Amish people as well as four other groups of white people in the United States as well as in Europe. They found about 20 % of the people studied carried either one or two copies of the gene and it is carried by about one of every five white Americans. The findings of the study was published in the recent edition of journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Although the gene STK39 played a key role there could be other factors that influenced blood pressure such as being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking and too much salt in the diet, the researchers said.


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