Rare coding variants associated with blood pressure variation in 15 914 individuals of African ancestry

J Hypertens. 2017 Jul;35(7):1381-1389. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001319.


Objectives: Hypertension is a major risk factor for all cardiovascular diseases, especially among African Americans. This study focuses on identifying specific blood pressure (BP) genes using 15 914 individuals of African ancestry from eight cohorts (Africa America Diabetes Mellitus, Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, Coronary Artery Risk Development in young Adults, Genetics Network, Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy, Howard University Family Study, Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network, and Loyola University Chicago Cohort) to further genetic findings in this population which has generally been underrepresented in BP studies.

Methods: We genotyped and performed various single variant and gene-based exome-wide analyses on 15 914 individuals on the Illumina HumanExome Beadchip v1.0 or v1.1 to test association with SBP and DBP long-term average residuals that were adjusted for age, age-squared, sex, and BMI.

Results: We identified rare variants affecting SBP and DBP in 10 genes: AFF1, GAPDHS, SLC28A3, COL6A1, CRYBA2, KRBA1, SEL1L3, YOD1, CCDC13, and QSOX1. Prior experimental evidence for six of these 10 candidate genes supports their involvement in cardiovascular mechanisms, corroborating their potential roles in BP regulation.

Conclusion: Although our results require replication or validation due to their low numbers of carriers, and an ethnicity-specific genotyping array may be more informative, this study, which has identified several candidate genes in this population most susceptible to hypertension, presents one of the largest African-ancestry BP studies to date and the largest including analysis of rare variants.

MeSH terms

  • Black People / genetics*
  • Blood Pressure / genetics*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exome
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / genetics*
  • Risk Factors

Grant support