Yale Study IDs Possible Links To Severe Hypertension

(LATimes.com) — Yale researchers have identified two gene mutations that could be linked to some of the more severe forms of hypertension.

For the study, published in the Friday issue of Science, the researchers examined 22 tumors of the adrenal gland, a common symptom in severe hypertension. Of those, eight were found to have one of two mutations of a single gene that cause the formation of the tumor and the release of aldosterone, a hormone associated with high blood pressure.

While other gene mutations have been suspected culprits in hypertension, this particular gene had not been on researchers’ radar. Better technology is the reason the Yale researchers were able to spot it, said Richard Lifton, the study’s senior author and chairman of the genetics department.

Specifically, they used exome sequencing, a process that selectively sequences the region of the genome that contains genes that code for proteins. In the recent past, researchers would have to sequence the entire genome of a patient — a process that’s prohibitively time-consuming and expensive in most cases. Because of this, researchers had been limited to singling out particular genes one by one for sequencing.

“Until recently, we haven’t had any kind of technology to go after these genes,” Lifton said.


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