Interactions of genetic variants with physical activity are associated with blood pressure in Chinese: The GenSalt study

May E. Montasser, Donfeng Gu, Jing Chen, Lawrence C. Shimmin, Charles Gu, Tanika N. Kelly, Cashell E. Jaquish, Treva Rice, Dabeeru C. Rao, Jie Cao, Jichun Chen, De Pei Liu, Paul K. Whelton, Jiang He, James E. Hixson

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17 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Blood pressure (BP) homeostasis involves complex interactions among genetic and nongenetic factors, providing major challenges to dissection of the genetic components that influence BP and hypertension. In this study, we examine the effects of interaction of genetic variants with physical activity on BP in a relatively genetically homogenous cohort of rural Chinese villagers. METHODS: Generalized estimating equations analysis was used to test for associations of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) with variants in 24 genes in BP pathways (196 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)) among 3,142 Chinese participants divided according to physical activity (active vs. inactive groups). RESULTS: In the physically active group, two SNPs in NR3C2 were significantly associated with lower SBP, and a SNP in SCNN1B was significantly associated with lower SBP and DBP. In the physically inactive group, a SNP in APLNR was associated with lower SBP, a SNP in GNB3 (guanine nucleotide binding protein, β polypeptide 3) was associated with higher SBP and DBP, and a SNP in BDKRB2 (bradykinin receptor B2) was associated with lower DBP. Cumulative effects in carriers of minor alleles of these SNPs showed reductions of SBP and DBP as large as 8 and 5mmHg, respectively, in the active individuals compared to inactive individuals carrying the same number of minor alleles. CONCLUSIONS: We found that physical activity modifies the effects of genetic variants on BP. However, our results also show that active individuals with specific genotypes always have lower BP than inactive individuals with the same genotypes, demonstrating the overall beneficial effects of physical activity on BP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1040
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • blood pressure
  • epidemiology
  • gene by environment interaction
  • genetics
  • hypertension
  • physical activity


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