Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 6, 2006 -- Researchers led by UVa Health System pathologist Robin Felder, Ph.D., have demonstrated that looking for several variations of genes that control blood pressure can predict the risk for high blood pressure caused by high levels of salt.
Once it is fully developed, this effective diagnostic test will be the first of its kind, says Dr. Felder
, whose work will be published in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal Clinical Chemistry
"A genetic test for high blood pressure and/or salt sensitivity will be instrumental in motivating Americans to adopt heart healthy lifestyles and help to improve their overall health and quality of life," Dr. Felder
Dr. Sanada is a former UVa pathology fellow who studied and worked with Dr. Felder.
"Through these grant funds, we wish to stimulate broader research in the area of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and salt sensitivity," said Dr. Felder
"This new genetic information will allow physicians to provide guidance to patients with a family history of hypertension, so they can modify their lifestyles to help prevent kidney failure, heart failure, stroke and blindness that can result from high blood pressure," said Robin A. Felder, principal investigator and professor of pathology at the U.Va.
Health System, where the test was developed as part of the study.
"This discovery will lead to a new test for hypertension that will offer the same high quality diagnostic aid to physicians as the test created to diagnose genetic forms of breast cancer," he
The National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $1.2 million to University of Virginia pathologist Robin A. Felder and his colleagues to study genetic causes of essential hypertension, or high blood pressure of unknown causes.
The research is looking for a genetic cause for high blood pressure or the propensity to develop high blood pressure.
In addition, Felder
will study salt-sensitive hypertension to determine why, in some people, a high salt diet causes elevated blood pressure or exacerbates blood pressure that is already high, while in others, there is no relationship between salt intake and blood pressure levels.
"Along with Dr. Pedro Jose at Georgetown University
, I recently discovered FJ1, a mutated protein that may provide insight into the cause of this elusive disease," Felder