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Hypertension. 1985 Nov-Dec;7(6 Pt 1):955-62.

Sodium-lithium countertransport and blood pressure in healthy blood donors.


Studies finding an increased maximal rate of Na-Li countertransport in red blood cells from persons with essential hypertension and their normotensive offspring have raised the possibility that Na-Li countertransport may serve as a marker for the genetic predisposition to hypertension. We studied Na-Li countertransport in 238 randomly selected blood donors representative of the population of Rochester, Minnesota. The mean value (+/- SD) for Na-Li countertransport in units of mmoles of lithium efflux per liter of red blood cells per hour was 0.29 +/- 0.12. The distribution of Na-Li countertransport values among the donors was continuous. An analysis for multimodality, however, detected significant evidence of bimodality with 72% of the population predicted to belong to the lower mode with a mean of 0.24 mmol/L red blood cells per hour and 28% of the population to belong to the upper mode with a mean of 0.42 mmol/L red blood cells per hour. There was a positive association between Na-Li countertransport and blood pressure; after adjustment for weight and age, Na-Li countertransport predicted approximately 3% of the variation in blood pressure. Persons belonging to the upper mode of the Na-Li countertransport distribution may be at increased risk of acquiring elevated blood pressure as they age.

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