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J Hum Hypertens. 2016 Sep;30(9):549-54. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2015.121. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

The effects of genes implicated in cardiovascular disease on blood pressure response to treatment among treatment-naive hypertensive African Americans in the GenHAT study.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
Human Genetics Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.
School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.


African Americans have the highest prevalence of hypertension in the United States. Blood pressure (BP) control is important to reduce cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality in this ethnic group. Genetic variants have been found to be associated with BP response to treatment. Previous pharmacogenetic studies of BP response to treatment in African Americans suffer limitations of small sample size as well as a limited number of candidate genes, and often focused on one antihypertensive treatment. Using 1131 African-American treatment-naive participants from the Genetics of Hypertension Associated Treatment Study, we examined whether variants in 35 candidate genes might modulate BP response to four different antihypertensive medications, including an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (lisinopril), a calcium channel blocker (amlodipine), and an a-adrenergic blocker (doxazosin) as compared with a thiazide diuretic (chlorthalidone) after 6 months of follow-up. Several suggestive gene by treatment interactions were identified. For example, among participants with two minor alleles of renin rs6681776, diastolic BP response was much improved on doxazosin compared with chlorthalidone (on average -9.49 mm Hg vs -1.70 mm Hg) (P=0.007). Although several suggestive loci were identified, none of the findings passed significance criteria after correction for multiple testing. Given the impact of hypertension and its sequelae in this population, this research highlights the potential for genetic factors to contribute to BP response to treatment. Continued concerted research efforts focused on genetics are needed to improve treatment response in this high-risk group.

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