Stress-induced sodium excretion a new intermediate phenotype to study the early genetic etiology of hypertension?

Dongliang Ge, Shaoyong Su, Haidong Zhu, Yanbin Dong, Xiaoling Wang, Gregory A. Harshfield, Frank A. Treiber, Harold Snieder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Impaired stress-induced pressure natriuresis, ie, an inadequate compensatory increase in urinary sodium excretion (U NaV) in response to a stress-induced blood pressure increase, may lead to the premature development of essential hypertension. To assess the heritability of baseline U NaV, stress U NaV, and the U NaV response to stress (ΔU NaV=stress U NaV- baseline U NaV), we studied 396 black and 494 white twins, including monozygotic and dizygotic twins of the same as well as the opposite sex (mean age: 17.6±3.3 years; range: 11.9 to 30.0 years). Bivariate genetic model fitting was performed to examine the extent to which genetic and environmental factors are common or specific to baseline and stress U NaV. Heritability estimates for AU NaV can be derived from these bivariate models. All of the bivariate analyses were performed separately in whites and blacks, because univariate models for baseline U NaV showed significant ethnic differences in heritability estimates. Best-fitting models showed that the heritability of stress U NaV was 0.42 in whites and 0.58 in blacks. Only 15% and 11% of the total variance could be attributed to genetic factors common to baseline and stress U NaV in whites and blacks, respectively. After removal of all of the shared influences with baseline U NaV, heritabilities for stress U NaV were 0.32 in whites and 0.57 in blacks. Heritability estimates for ΔU NaV were 0.36 in whites and 0.39 in blacks. In summary, this study establishes ΔU NaV and stress U NaV as heritable phenotypes that may be used to study the genetic etiology of early hypertension development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-269
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Black
  • Blood pressure
  • Genetics
  • Natriuresis
  • Risk factors
  • Twin study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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