Genome-wide association studies implicate the CYP17A1 gene in human blood pressure regulation although the causative polymorphisms are as yet unknown. We sought to identify common polymorphisms likely to explain this association. We sequenced the CYP17A1 locus in 60 normotensive individuals and observed 24 previously identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms with minor allele frequency >0.05. From these, we selected, for further studies, 7 polymorphisms located ≤2 kb upstream of the CYP17A1 transcription start site. In vitro reporter gene assays identified 3 of these (rs138009835, rs2150927, and rs2486758) as having significant functional effects. We then analyzed the association between the 7 polymorphisms and the urinary steroid metabolites in a hypertensive cohort (n=232). Significant associations included that of rs138009835 with aldosterone metabolite excretion; rs2150927 associated with the ratio of tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone to tetrahydrodeoxycortisol, which we used as an index of 17α-hydroxylation. Linkage analysis showed rs138009835 to be the only 1 of the 7 polymorphisms in strong linkage disequilibrium with the blood pressure–associated polymorphisms identified in the previous studies. In conclusion, we have identified, characterized, and investigated common polymorphisms at the CYP17A1 locus that have functional effects on gene transcription in vitro and associate with corticosteroid phenotype in vivo. Of these, rs138009835—which we associate with changes in aldosterone level—is in strong linkage disequilibrium with polymorphisms linked by genome-wide association studies to blood pressure regulation. This finding clearly has implications for the development of high blood pressure in a large proportion of the population and justifies further investigation of rs138009835 and its effects.Hypertension is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine