Amish gene identified to aid high blood pressure
A gene that affects how the kidneys process salt may help determine a person's risk of high blood pressure, a discovery that could lead to better ways to treat the condition, researchers said on Monday.
People with a common variant of the gene STK39 tend to have higher blood pressure levels and are more likely to develop full-blown high blood pressure, also called hypertension, University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found.
They identified the gene's role in high blood pressure susceptibility by analyzing the genes of 542 people in the insular Old Order Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
The researchers confirmed the findings by looking at the genes of another group of Amish people as well as four other groups of white people in the United States and Europe.
A gene mutation among a segment of the Amish population appears to help prevent cardiovascular disease. The discovery of this mutation could some day help scientists develop new therapies to prevent the disease, according to a new study.
More than 800 members of the Old Order Amish community in Lancaster County, Pa., participated in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
"We found that about five percent of the Amish have a gene mutation that speeds up the breakdown of triglycerides, which are fat particles in the blood associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease," lead investigator Toni I. Pollin, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine was quoted as saying.