Poveda A, Atabaki-Pasdar N, Ahmad S, Hallmans G, Renström F, Franks PW
J Am Heart Assoc 9 (16) e014513 [2020-08-18; online 2020-08-04]
Background Genome-wide association studies have identified >1000 genetic variants cross-sectionally associated with blood pressure variation and prevalent hypertension. These discoveries might aid the early identification of subpopulations at risk of developing hypertension or provide targets for drug development, amongst other applications. The aim of the present study was to analyze the association of blood pressure-associated variants with long-term changes (10 years) in blood pressure and also to assess their ability to predict hypertension incidence compared with traditional risk variables in a Swedish population. Methods and Results We constructed 6 genetic risk scores (GRSs) by summing the dosage of the effect allele at each locus of genetic variants previously associated with blood pressure traits (systolic blood pressure GRS (GRSSBP): 554 variants; diastolic blood pressure GRS (GRSDBP): 481 variants; mean arterial pressure GRS (GRSMAP): 20 variants; pulse pressure GRS (GRSPP): 478 variants; hypertension GRS (GRSHTN): 22 variants; combined GRS (GRScomb): 1152 variants). Each GRS was longitudinally associated with its corresponding blood pressure trait, with estimated effects per GRS SD unit of 0.50 to 1.21 mm Hg for quantitative traits and odds ratios (ORs) of 1.10 to 1.35 for hypertension incidence traits. The GRScomb was also significantly associated with hypertension incidence defined according to European guidelines (OR, 1.22 per SD; 95% CI, 1.10‒1.35) but not US guidelines (OR, 1.11 per SD; 95% CI, 0.99‒1.25) while controlling for traditional risk factors. The addition of GRScomb to a model containing traditional risk factors only marginally improved discrimination (Δarea under the ROC curve = 0.001-0.002). Conclusions GRSs based on discovered blood pressure-associated variants are associated with long-term changes in blood pressure traits and hypertension incidence, but the inclusion of genetic factors in a model composed of conventional hypertension risk factors did not yield a material increase in predictive ability.