- F.C. Luft
- O. Toka
- H.R. Toka
- J. Jordan
- S. Baehring
- American Journal of Physiology Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
- Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 285 (4): R709-R714
Mendelian forms of hypertension have delivered a treasure trove of novel genes. To date, the molecular mechanisms of five such syndromes have been largely clarified, including glucocorticoid-remediable aldosteronism, Liddle's syndrome, apparent mineralocorticoid excess, an activating mutation of the mineralocorticoid receptor, and pseudohypoaldosteronism type 2. Each of these conditions features salt sensitivity with increased sodium and volume reabsorption by the kidney and low plasma renin activity. None of the gene loci for these syndromes has been convincingly linked to hypertension in the general population. We are investigating kindreds who have autosomal-dominant hypertension and brachydactyly. Affected persons invariably have both anomalies. The hypertension is severe and results in death at about age 50 years from stroke. The condition resembles essential hypertension, because renin, aldosterone, and norepinephrine responses are normal and no salt sensitivity is present. The response to antihypertensive drugs is general. Another feature is diminished baroreflex sensitivity with markedly impaired blood pressure buffering. Furthermore, the ventrolateral medulla may be compromised in these patients, because neurovascular anomalies are a regular finding. We mapped the gene(s) for this disease to chromosome 12p and narrowed the chromosomal region by studying more affected families. Interestingly, the same locus was recently mapped in Chinese families with essential hypertension. Our 3-centimorgan region contains genes encoding a phosphodiesterase, an ATP-dependent potassium channel, and its regulator the sulfonylurea receptor 2. Screening of the coding regions revealed that none of these candidate genes harbor obvious mutations; however, other genetic mechanisms may nevertheless compromise their function. Our study underscores the importance of regulatory physiology to the understanding of a complex genetic syndrome.