Human physiology



In 2009 (Newton-Cheh Nature Genetics) we found that a genetic variant that raises natriuretic peptides lowers blood pressure and odds of hypertension prompting us to ask how. We recruited individuals who differed by this genotype and put then on high- and low-sodium diets as well as challenged them with intravenous saline, allowing us to parse the relative effects of genetics and the environment on ANP, a critical blood pressure regulator.  We went on to identify the molecular mechanism that explains this genetic effect: the genetic variant interrupts the binding of a microRNA that negatively regulates ANP expression. [Arora JCI 2014]