A gene for high urinary kallikrein may protect against hypertension in Utah kindreds
The inheritance of 12-hour overnight total urinary kallikrein excretion and its association with family history of essential hypertension were studied in 405 normotensive adults and 391 youths in 57 Utah pedigrees. Total urinary kallikrein excretion was highly familial with 51% of the total variance attributable to a dominant allele for high total urinary kallikrein excretion and 27% attributable to the combined effects of polygenes and shared family environment. An estimated 28% of the population has one or two copies of the dominant allele for high total urinary kallikrein excretion (2.3 SD units higher than the low homozygotes). About 83% of the population could be assigned to one of the two genotypic populations. Individuals with the high total urinary kallikrein excretion genotype were significantly less likely to have one or two hypertensive parents (relative odds = 0.56, p = 0.042). We conclude that a dominant allele expressed as high total urinary kallikrein excretion may be associated with decreased risk of essential hypertension. Further studies should be performed to confirm this finding and to test for interactions between this apparently protective gene and other genetic and environmental determinants of essential hypertension.