11 new genes affecting blood pressure identified

London, Feb 21 (IANS): Suffer from high blood pressure? Probably your worries would wane with a new, more effective treatment.

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have discovered 11 new DNA sequence variants in genes influencing high blood pressure and heart disease.

The researchers believe the findings would eventually influence the development of new treatments.

Discovering these new genetic variants provides vital insight into how the body regulates blood pressure.

“With further research, we are hopeful it could lead to the development of new treatments for treating blood pressure and heart disease,” said Patricia Munroe, professor of molecular medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

The international study examined the DNA of 87,736 individuals to discover genetic variants associated with blood pressure traits.

This analysis led to the identification of 11 new genes.

Worldwide, raised blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths. Genes and lifestyle factors, for example salt intake and obesity, are both known to be important risk factors.

More immediately the study highlights opportunities to investigate the use of existing drugs for cardiovascular diseases.

“By highlighting several existing drugs that target proteins which influence blood pressure regulation, our study creates a very real opportunity to fast-track new therapies for hypertension into the clinic,” said Michael Barnes, director of Bioinformatics, Barts, Queen Mary University of London.

The study was published the American Journal of Human Genetics.


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