Study Background

What is Hypertension?

Resource Information

Patient Resources

National DNA repository

Recruitment Procedures

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Genome Screen Results


Nursing and Scientific Teams

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Hypertension affects over 20% of the UK population and represents a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide. The World Health Organisation in 2002 suggested that there are 12M cardiovascular deaths worldwide and hypertension is responsible for about 7.1M of these.

Evidence from family studies suggests that hypertension has a complex origin with an influence of 30% from genetic factors and the remainder from environmental influences. Although we know many of the environmental influences on blood pressure, which include sodium, obesity and alcohol, we have little understanding of the genetic basis.

The greatest progress in the search for hypertension genes has been made in rare single gene disorders such as Glucocorticoid Suppressible Hyperaldosteronism and Liddle's syndrome. It is interesting to note that these rare causes all appear to lead to increased blood pressure by affecting sodium homeostasis.

There are several study designs and approaches that can be taken to study complex disorders such as hypertension. These may include investigation of known candidates for hypertension from the physiology and pharmacology of blood pressure regulation or screening the entire genome for novel genes.

The MRC BRIGHT study has recruited family-based and case control resources to provide a robust national repository for the evaluation of the genetic basis of hypertension.


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