Background Increased blood pressure (BP) reactivity to cold pressor test (CPT) is a risk factor for hypertension. Genetic factors may influence the variation of BP response to CPT among individuals. We explored the association of genetic variants in the apelin system genes (APLN, APLNR and ACE2) and BP response to CPT in a Chinese population. Methods A total of 1,998 Han Chinese participants from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Salt Sensitivity completed a CPT. The percentage changes of BP right after the end of ice-water immersion were used as the measurement of BP responses to CPT. Twenty-two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected and genotyped, including both tag and potential functional SNPs of the APLN, APLNR, and ACE2 genes. A mixed-effect linear model was used to assess the association between SNPs and BP responses to CPT. Results In women, three SNPs (rs1514283, rs4646176, and rs879922) of the ACE2 gene were significantly associated with the diastolic BP (DBP) response to CPT in the general and recessive genetic models after adjustment for multiple testing (all false discovery rate q>0.05). There were no significant associations of polymorphisms in APLN and APLNR genes with BP responses to CPT. Conclusions Our study identified genetic variants in the ACE2 gene that were significantly associated with DBP responses to cold stress in the Chinese female population. Future studies are warranted to confirm these findings.
- angiotensin converting enzyme 2
- apelin receptor
- blood pressure
- cold pressor test