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Hypertension. 2000 Jul;36(1):7-13.

Genetic determinants of hypertension: identification of candidate phenotypes.

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Departments of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Our long-term objective is to identify genes whose expression results in hypertension and in phenotypic changes that may contribute to hypertension. The purpose of the present study was to describe evidence for the heritability of hypertension-related phenotypes in hypertensive, hyperlipidemic black sib pairs. Outpatient anthropomorphic measurements were obtained in >200 affected sib pairs. In addition, 68 of these sib pairs were studied under controlled, standardized conditions at an inpatient clinical research center while off both antihypertensive and lipid-lowering medications. Heritability was estimated on the basis of sib-sib correlations and with an association model. Higher heritability estimates for blood pressure were observed with multiple measurements averaged over 24 hours than with measurements at a single time point, and heritability estimates for nighttime blood pressures were higher than those for daytime blood pressures. Heritability estimates for several of the phenotypes were augmented by obtaining measurements in response to a standardized stimulus, including (1) blood pressure responses to the assumption of upright posture, standardized psychological stress, and norepinephrine infusion; (2) plasma renin, aldosterone, epinephrine, and cAMP and cGMP responses to the assumption of upright posture; (3) para-aminohippurate and inulin clearances in response to norepinephrine infusion; and (4) plasma arginine vasopressin in response to NaCl infusion. High heritability estimates were also observed for various measures of body size and body fat, left ventricular size, cardiac index, stroke volume, total peripheral resistance, and serum concentrations of LDL and HDL cholesterol and leptin. These heritability estimates identify the hypertension-related phenotypes that may facilitate the identification of specific genetic determinants of hypertension in blacks with hyperlipidemia.

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