Genetic Influences on Trajectories of Systolic Blood Pressure Across Childhood and Adolescence

Laura D. Howe*, Priyakumari G. Parmar, Lavinia Paternoster, Nicole M. Warrington, John P. Kemp, Laurent Briollais, John P. Newnham, Nicholas J. Timpson, George Davey Smith, Susan M. Ring, David M. Evans, Kate Tilling, Craig E. Pennell, Lawrie J. Beilin, Lyle J. Palmer, Debbie A. Lawlor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background Blood pressure (BP) tends to increase across childhood and adolescence, but the genetic influences on rates of BP change are not known. Potentially important genetic influences could include genetic variants identified in genome-wide association studies of adults as being associated with BP, height, and body mass index. Understanding the contribution of these genetic variants to changes in BP across childhood and adolescence could yield understanding into the life course development of cardiovascular risk.

Methods and Results Pooling data from 2 cohorts (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children [n=7013] and the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort [n=1459]), we examined the associations of allelic scores of 29 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for adult BP, 180 height SNPs, and 32 body mass index SNPs, with trajectories of systolic BP (SBP) from 6 to 17 years of age, using linear spline multilevel models. The allelic scores of BP and body mass index SNPs were associated with SBP at 6 years of age (per-allele effect sizes, 0.097 mm Hg [SE, 0.039 mm Hg] and 0.107 mm Hg [SE, 0.037 mm Hg]); associations with age-related changes in SBP between 6 and 17 years of age were of small magnitude and imprecisely estimated. The allelic score of height SNPs was only weakly associated with SBP changes. No sex or cohort differences in genetic effects were observed.

Conclusions Allelic scores of BP and body mass index SNPs demonstrated associations with SBP at 6 years of age with a similar magnitude but were not strongly associated with changes in SBP with age between 6 and 17 years. Further work is required to identify variants associated with changes with age in BP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-614
Number of pages7
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • adolescent
  • blood pressure
  • genetics
  • humans

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