Mitochondrial DNA copy number in peripheral blood cell and hypertension risk among mining workers: a case-control study in Chinese coal miners

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Abstract

Alteration of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, which reflects oxidant-induced cell damage, has been observed in a wide range of human diseases. However, whether it correlates with hypertension has not been elucidated. We aimed to explore the association between mtDNA copy number and the risk of hypertension in Chinese coal miners. A case-control study was performed with 378 hypertension patients and 325 healthy controls in a large coal mining group located in North China. Face-to-face interviews were conducted by trained staffs with necessary medical knowledge. The mtDNA copy number was measured by a quantitative real-time PCR assay using DNA extracted from peripheral blood. No significant differences in mtDNA copy number were observed between hypertension patients and healthy controls. However, in both case and control groups, the mtDNA copy number was statistically significantly lower in the elder population (≥ 45 years old) compared with the younger subjects (< 45 years old; 7.17 vs 6.64, P = 0.005 and 7.21 vs 6.84, P = 0.036). A significantly higher mtDNA copy number could be found in hypertension patients consuming alcohol regularly compared with no alcohol consumption patients (7.09 vs 6.69); mtDNA copy number was also positively correlated with age and alcohol consumption. Hypertension was found significantly correlated with factors such as age, work duration, monthly family income and drinking status. Our results suggest that the mtDNA copy number is not associated with hypertension in coal miners.

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