Purpose: To assess the role of genetic polymorphisms in salt sensitivity of blood pressure.
Data identification: We conducted a systematic review by searching the Medline literature from March 1993 to June 2003. Each paper was scrutinized and data concerning study population, method of salt sensitivity testing, blood pressure measurement, definition of salt sensitivity, and effects were extracted.
Study selection and data extraction: A total of 23 studies met the inclusion criteria. There was considerable heterogeneity in the method of salt sensitivity testing among the studies. Due to these differences, it was impossible to perform pooled analyses by genetic variants. Detailed investigation was done on the alpha-adducin Gly460Trp, ACE I/D, angiotensinogen M235T, G protein beta 3 C825T, aldosterone synthase gene and 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 G534A polymorphism.
Results and conclusions: Our analysis shows that the 460Trp variant of the alpha-adducin polymorphism is probably associated with a sodium-sensitive form of hypertension, while the polymorphisms of the angiotensin II type 1 receptor gene and the -344C/T variant of the aldosterone synthase gene are not associated with this phenotype. In view of the lack of standardization in salt sensitivity testing, we propose uniformity in study design in these type of studies.