Background: Blood pressure (BP) is highly heritable, but our understanding of the genetic causes underlying variations in BP is incomplete. In this study, we explored whether novel loci associated with BP could be identified using a genecentric approach in 3 community-based cohorts with accurate BP measurements.
Methods and results: Genotyping of 1857 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 91 ion channel genes was performed in a discovery cohort (n=358). Thirty-four SNPs associated with BP traits (P≤0.01) were followed up in an independent population (n=387); significant SNPs from this analysis were looked up in another independent population (n=1010) and meta-analyzed. Repeated clinic and ambulatory measurements were available for all but the discovery cohort (clinic only). Association analyses were performed, with systolic, diastolic, and pulse pressures as quantitative traits, adjusting for age and sex. Quantile-quantile plots indicated that the genecentric approach resulted in an inflation of association signals. Of the 29 SNPs taken forward from the discovery cohort, 2 SNPs were associated with BP phenotypes with the same direction of effect, with experiment-wide significance, in follow-up cohort I. These were rs2228291, in the chloride channel gene CLCN2, and rs10513488, in the potassium channel gene KCNAB1. Both associations were subsequently replicated in follow-up cohort II.
Conclusions: Using a genecentric design and 3 well-phenotyped populations, this study identified 2 previously unreported, biologically plausible, genetic associations with BP. These results suggest that dense genotyping of genes, in pathways known to influence BP, could add to candidate-gene and Genome Wide Association studies in further explaining BP heritability.
Keywords: ambulatory blood pressure monitoring; association studies; blood pressure; genetics; ion channel.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.