Low-renin hypertension, altered sodium homeostasis, and an α-adducin polymorphism
Genome-Wide Association Study
Defining the genetic basis of common forms of human essential hypertension is most informative when correlated with physiological mechanisms that underlie blood pressure regulation. A polymorphism of the alpha-adducin gene as been associated with elevated blood pressure in the rat, but previous studies of the 460Trp polymorphism of the human alpha-adducin gene have not clearly identified an association with hypertension. In this study, the frequency of the 460Trp allele was 19% and 9 of 279 subjects (3.2%) were homozygous for the 460Trp allele. The systolic blood pressure response to changes in dietary sodium was significantly greater in subjects homozygous for the 460Trp allele (25 +/- 4 mm Hg) compared with subjects heterozygous for 460Trp (12 +/- 2 mm Hg) or homozygous for the 460Gly allele (14 +/- 1 mm Hg). Intracellular erythrocyte sodium content, sodium-lithium countertransport, and renal fractional excretion of sodium were significantly decreased in subjects homozygous for the 460Trp polymorphism (P<0.05). There was a significant association between homozygosity for the 460Trp allele and low-renin hypertension. Subjects heterozygous for the 460Trp allele did not have increased salt-sensitivity or an increased frequency of low-renin hypertension. Therefore, this study demonstrates a common genetic basis for altered cellular sodium homeostasis, impaired renal sodium handling, and salt-sensitivity of systolic blood pressure in individuals homozygous for the 460Trp polymorphism of the alpha-adducin gene. Homozygosity for this alpha-adducin allele may be an important determinant for approximately 10% of individuals with low-renin hypertension.