Genetic Variants and Blood Pressure in a Population-Based Cohort
The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study
Clinical relevance of a genetic predisposition to elevated blood pressure was quantified during the transition from childhood to adulthood in a population-based Finnish cohort (N=2357). Blood pressure was measured at baseline in 1980 (age 3–18 years) and in follow-ups in 1983, 1986, 2001, and 2007. Thirteen single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with blood pressure were genotyped, and 3 genetic risk scores associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressures and their combination were derived for all of the participants. Effects of the genetic risk score were 0.47 mm Hg for systolic and 0.53 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressures (both P<0.01). The combination genetic risk score was associated with diastolic blood pressure from age 9 years onward (β=0.68 mm Hg; P=0.015). Replications in 1194 participants of the Bogalusa Heart Study showed essentially similar results. The participants in the highest quintile of the combination genetic risk score had a 1.82-fold risk of hypertension in adulthood (P<0.0001) compared with the lowest quintile, independent of a family history of premature hypertension. These findings show that genetic variants are associated with preclinical blood pressure traits in childhood; individuals with several susceptibility alleles have, on average, a 0.5-mm Hg higher blood pressure, and this trajectory continues from childhood to adulthood.
- Received July 15, 2011.
- Revision received August 11, 2011.
- Accepted September 27, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.