Genomic epidemiology of blood pressure salt sensitivity

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High blood pressure (BP) is a complex trait determined by genetic and environmental factors, as well as their interactions. Over the past few decades, there has been substantial progress elucidating the genetic determinants underlying BP response to sodium intake, or BP salt sensitivity. Research of monogenic BP disorders has highlighted the importance of renal salt handling in BP regulation, implicating genes and biological pathways subsequently identified in candidate gene studies of salt sensitivity. Despite these advancements, certain candidate gene findings await replication evidence, and some biological pathways warrant further investigation. Furthermore, results from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and sequencing work have yet to be reported. GWAS will be valuable for uncovering novel mechanisms underlying salt sensitivity, whereas future sequencing efforts promise the discovery of functional variants related to this complex trait. Delineating the genetic architecture of salt sensitivity will be critical to understanding how genes and dietary sodium interact to influence BP.

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