High Blood Pressure May Come From Mom
Reported April 6, 2011
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A specific genetic defect in one Chinese family shows that
high blood pressure was inherited from the mother.
The defect results from the substitution of a single DNA "base" for another
during replication in the genes of a tiny cellular organ called the
mitochondria, which generates a cell's energy. When reproductive cells come
together to form an embryo, the mitochondrial DNA from the mother cell is passed
on to the offspring. Evidence has suggested a mother-child inheritance link for
high blood pressure due to mitochondrial inheritance.
Geneticists identified a large family from northern China in which 15 of 27
members who descended from the same female ancestor had blood pressures above
140/90 mmHg even after treatment. Only seven of 81 non-maternal relatives had
high blood pressure.
Researchers compared the family members with 342 Chinese residents of the same
northern area to confirm a maternal link. Analysis of the mitochondrial genome
of the maternal relatives and other tests revealed the site of the
hypertension-related mutation and showed that it impairs the mitochondrial
respiration chain, which increases levels of a reactive oxygen species (i.e.,
The findings show that inherited mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in high
blood pressure and may provide new insights into maternally transmitted
hypertension, researchers said.
SOURCE: Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association,
published online March 31, 2011