Performing extended studies among people with different ethnic origins, the research group hopes to demonstrate the effectiveness of this test in particular among African Americans, who have a higher incidence of salt-sensitive hypertension than other races. While 98 million Americans suffer from either high blood pressure or sensitivity to dietary salt (or both), until now no genetic test had been created that could predict who may develop these diseases. Salt sensitivity, with or without high blood pressure, has the same deleterious consequences as high blood pressure. Left undiagnosed, high blood pressure and/or salt sensitivity can lead to devastating consequences such as stroke, blindness, heart attack and kidney failure.
The studies were conducted by a team of collaborators including Pedro A. Jose, M.D., Ph.D., at Georgetown University School of Medicine (Washington D.C.), Hironobu Sanada, M.D., Ph.D., Fukushima Medical University (Fukushima, Japan), and Scott Williams, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN). Funding for these studies was provided in part by a $10.2 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The grant will allow this group of collaborating investigators, including Dr. Robert M. Carey, M.D. (University of Virginia) to extend their studies on the genetic bases for high blood pressure and salt sensitivity and their mechanisms in subjects from many different ethnic backgrounds, which could influence the predictive value of the diagnostic test. The team's work will examine the normal mechanisms associated with sodium (salt) management by the kidney and how the failure of these mechanisms contributes to high
Contact: Mary Jane Gore
University of Virginia Health System