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J Am Soc Hypertens. 2011 Nov-Dec;5(6):463-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Sep 3.

Association of self-reported race/ethnicity and genetic ancestry with arterial elasticity: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

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  • 1University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.


African Americans have a disproportionate burden of hypertension compared with white, whereas data on Hispanics is less well-defined. Mechanisms underlying these differences are unclear, but could be in part because of ancestral background and vascular function. We studied 660 African Americans and 635 Hispanics from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) with complete data on genetic ancestry, pulse pressure (PP), and large and small arterial elasticity (LAE, SAE). LAE and SAE were obtained using the HDI PulseWave CR-2000 Research CardioVascular Profiling Instrument. Among African Americans, higher European ancestry was marginally associated with higher LAE (P = .05) and lower PP (P = .05); results for LAE were attenuated after adjustment for potential mediators (P = .30). Among Hispanics, higher Native American ancestry was associated with higher SAE (P = .0006); higher African ancestry was marginally associated with lower SAE (P = .07). Ancestry was not significantly associated with LAE or PP in Hispanics. Among African Americans, higher European ancestry may be associated with less large artery damage, as measured by LAE and PP, although these associations warrant further study. Among Hispanics, ancestry is strongly associated with SAE. Future studies should consider genetic ancestry when studying hypertension in race/ethnic minorities, particularly among Hispanics.

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