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Am J Hypertens. 2004 Apr;17(4):292-8.

Determinants of arterial stiffness in offspring of families with essential hypertension.

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  • 1Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom.



Arterial stiffness may be an early marker for vascular changes associated with hypertension in young adults. We investigated whether arterial stiffness measured as augmentation index and pulse wave velocity is increased in offspring of families with essential hypertension, and whether stiffness is related to various biochemical markers.


Two groups of subjects were investigated: offspring of families with essential hypertension (mean age 39 years), and normotensive control subjects (mean age 43 years). Pulse wave analysis was used to estimate augmentation index (AIx, %). Brachial pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/sec), blood pressure, homocysteine, and creatinine were determined by standard methods.


The offspring had significantly higher systolic, diastolic, mean arterial pressures, as well as higher homocysteine, creatinine, and glucose levels compared with normotensive control subjects. Augmentation index, but not brachial pulse wave velocity, was significantly higher in offspring (P = .010) compared with control subjects. This group difference in AIx was evident in a regression model that corrected for the known cardiovascular risk factors (P = .027). In all subjects, homocysteine associated positively with brachial PWV (r = 0.15, P < .01) and negatively with AIx (r = -0.12, P < .05). AIx also associated inversely with creatinine in the whole group (r = -0.34; P < .001) and in offspring (r = -0.38; P < .001) only. A significant positive correlation was also observed between homocysteine and creatinine in all subjects (r = 0.30; P < .001), in men (r = 0.23; P < .05) and women (r = 0.26; P < .005), respectively.


These data suggests that large artery abnormalities may be present early in subjects likely to develop hypertension.

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