Scientists find more than 500 new genes allied to BPOctober 10, 2018
A recent study unveils new gene areas conferring blood pressure traits, helping understand the biological pathway for blood pressure regulation and thereby controlling the major risk factors like heart attack or stroke associated with it. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Imperial College London. The researchers analyzed DNA of more than 1 million people, which revealed 535 new genetic loci linked with blood pressure traits. The scientists found that all of the genetic variants identified were shown to increase a person’s risk of high blood pressure by 3.34 times, and that people in the higher genetic risk group exhibited a 1.52 times higher possibility to suffer from consequent cardiac diseases. The researchers suggest that knowing the genes responsible for high blood pressure may help us to spot the people who are at risk before the damage is done, so that they can be prognosticated earlier and therefore can be administered for implementing a healthy lifestyle to prevent the adverse consequences. The study also indicates potential new targets for drug development, suggesting that some drugs like canagliflozin prescribed for other diseases like type-2 diabetes could be repurposed for treating hypertension due to similar gene regions targeted by the drug. The identification of a new biological pathway for blood pressure regulation therefore potentiates improved cardiovascular disease prevention in future. The study reports to be the largest genetic association study of blood pressure traits to date.