Researchers have identified more than 500 genetic regions newly associated with blood pressure, which they say could lead to improved prevention of cardiovascular disease.
The study, which was published in Nature Genetics (17 September 2018), included data on 1,006,863 individuals of European descent
The researchers identified 535 genetic regions, known as loci, which are associated with blood pressure characteristics (systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure). They said that the genetic information now available on blood pressure could explain 27% of the variance in blood pressure between individuals.
The research also supported the relationship between all 274 previously identified loci and blood pressure.
The team suggested that, in future, genetic information could be used to identify individuals at highest risk who could be targeted earlier for high blood pressure prevention. The information could also be used for the design or repurposing of drugs to treat high blood pressure, they added.
“The novel loci open the vista of entirely new biology and highlight gene regions in systems not previously implicated in blood pressure regulation,” the researchers said.
 Evangelou E, Warren H, Mosen-Ansorena D et al. Genetic analysis of over 1 million people identifies 535 new loci associated with blood pressure traits. Nat Genet 2018;50:1412–1425. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0205-x