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Pediatr Nephrol. 2009 Oct;24(10):1929-37. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Heritable forms of hypertension.

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Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA.


Among the causes of secondary hypertension are a group of disorders with a Mendelian inheritance pattern. Recent advances in molecular biology have unveiled the pathogenesis of hypertension in many of these conditions. Remarkably, the mechanism in every case has proved to be upregulation of sodium (Na) reabsorption in the distal nephron, with accompanying expansion of extracellular volume. In one group, the mutations involve the Na-transport machinery in distal tubule cells themselves: the distal convoluted tubule (DCT) cell and the principal cell of the collecting duct. Examples include Liddle's syndrome, with an activating mutation of epithelial Na channel (ENaC); two types of Gordon's syndrome, with mutations in two regulatory kinases [with no lysine (K) serine/threonine protein kinases (WNK)1 or WNK4]; and apparent mineralocorticoid excess (AME), with an inactivating mutation in the glucocorticoid-metabolizing 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 enzyme (11HD2). In another group, abnormal adrenal steroid production leads to inappropriate stimulation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in the distal nephron. The pathophysiology may involve inappropriate production of aldosterone [in glucocorticoid-remediable aldosteronism (GRA) and familial hyperaldosteronism type II (FH II)], of cortisol (in familial glucocorticoid resistance), or of other steroid metabolites (in congenital adrenal hyperplasia and GRA). In contrast to earlier beliefs, hypertension in many of the inherited disorders may be mild, and electrolyte and acid-base abnormalities are often not present. Monogenic hypertension should therefore enter the differential diagnosis of any child or adolescent with hypertension. Plasma renin activity (PRA) is the appropriate screening tool for all types of inherited hypertension.

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