Sodium bicarbonate cotransporter polymorphisms are associated with baseline and 10-year follow-up blood pressures
The NaHCO3 cotransporter gene (SLC4A5) on chromosome 2 encodes a protein that transports sodium and bicarbonate across the cell membrane and regulates cellular pH. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Blood Pressure Program found linkage of blood pressure-related traits to the chromosomal region containing SLC4A5 and phenotype associations with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this gene. However, the results were inconsistent over various phenotypes and SNPs. Nevertheless, the evidence was strong enough to propose this gene as a blood pressure-related gene. To extend these findings, SLC4A5 SNPs were genotyped in an independent set of 96 Utah pedigrees of 1040 adult subjects at baseline, 760 of whom were followed longitudinally for 10 years. After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and polygenic correlations within pedigrees, SNP hcv1137534 was significantly associated with both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) at baseline (unadjusted P=0.009 and P=0.043; respectively) and at 10-year follow-up (P=0.008 and P=0.007; respectively). In secondary tests of association of baseline-stressed blood pressure, hcv1137534 was borderline or significantly associated with DBP change during an isometric handgrip test (P=0.054), DBP change from supine to standing (P=0.020), and DBP change after a 50 degrees tilt (P=0.034). There was no evidence for compensation of abnormal SLC4A5 sodium transport by genotype-specific differences in sodium-lithium countertransport, lithium-potassium cotransport, altered plasma sodium, chloride, or CO2 levels. Therefore, in these Utah pedigrees, the SLC4A5 gene was significantly associated with blood pressure and persisted after 10 years of follow-up. These results additionally confirm the involvement of SLC4A5 with blood pressure control, although the mechanism is still unclear.