Washington: Researchers have tracked down more than 20 new gene regions that play an important role in the risk of having high blood pressure.
The study offers new potential therapeutic targets for prevention of heart disease and stroke – the biggest cause of death worldwide.
The study by scientists from Queen Mary, University of London involved 351 scientists from 234 institutions based in 24 countries around the world.
This study analysed data on over 270,000 people to find genetic variations in the DNA of each person that were associated with higher or lower blood pressure.
This enabled them to identify 16 new gene regions influencing blood pressure and provided confirmation of 12 other gene regions that had previously been discovered by the Barts and The London team.
The researchers then combined the effects of genetic variation in all 28 gene regions and showed that these impact upon the risk of developing hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and structural changes in the heart.
The combined effect of these variations on blood pressure is similar to the effect of a standard blood pressure lowering medicine.
Professor Patricia Munroe said: “This large multicentre collaboration has yielded many new genes for blood pressure, determining which gene and their function will improve our understanding of the basic architecture of hypertension, and should facilitate new therapeutic drug development.”
The study was recently published in Nature and Nature Genetics.