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Eur J Hum Genet. 2002 Nov;10(11):715-23.

Detection of putative functional angiotensinogen (AGT) gene variants controlling plasma AGT levels by combined segregation-linkage analysis.

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Inserm Unité 525, Paris, France.


Previous studies have suggested that angiotensinogen (AGT) gene variants are associated with increased plasma AGT levels, and may also contribute towards the inherited component of predisposition to essential hypertension in humans. To explore the potential functionality of several AGT polymorphisms and estimate their effects, together with other sources of familial correlations, on plasma AGT, we undertook a large study involving 545 healthy French volunteers in 130 nuclear families that include 285 offspring. Plasma AGT levels were measured in all participants, and bi-allelic AGT variants were analysed as candidate functional variants at three sites in the 5'-flanking region (C-532T, A-20C, G-6A), two sites in exon 2 (M235T, T174M) and two newly identified variant sites in the untranslated sequence of exon 5 and the 3'-flanking region (C+2054A, C+2127T) of the gene. Analysis with the class D regressive model showed significant effects influencing plasma AGT levels of all AGT polymorphisms tested, with the exception of T174M. The most significant result was found at C-532T (P=0.000001), which accounts for 4.3% of total plasma AGT variability in parents and 5.5% in offspring, with substantial residual familial correlations. Maximum likelihood estimates of haplotype frequencies and tests of linkage disequilibrium between each AGT polymorphism and a putative QTL are in agreement with a complete confounding of C-532T with the QTL, when taking into account sex and generation specific effects of the QTL. However, further combined segregation-linkage analyses showed significant evidence for additional effects of G-6A, M235T and C+2054A polymorphisms after accounting for C-532T, which supports a complex model with at least two functional variants within the AGT gene controlling AGT levels.

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