Erythrocyte sodium-lithium countertransport (SLC) activity is elevated in essential arterial hypertension. With the growing attention to the genetic substrate of disturbed biochemical tests associated with essential arterial hypertension, we were particularly interested in the involvement of key genes for the regulation of SLC, possibly related to the pathophysiology of essential arterial hypertension. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to investigate SLC and its determining factors in essential hypertension. The influence of haptoglobin (Hp)-polymorphism, insertion/deletion polymorphism of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE-I/D) and MNS blood group system on the regulation of SLC was studied. SLC activity was studied in a cross-sectional case-control study including 90 Caucasians: 60 patients with essential arterial hypertension who had been treated for at least 1 year and 30 normotensive controls. In essential hypertension, the SLC activity is significantly higher (P = 0.00005) than in controls. In normotensive patients, no differences in SLC are observed for the different polymorphisms studied. However, in the hypertensive group, SLC activity is higher (P = 0.003) in Hp 2-1 phenotype and independent of ACE-I/D genotyping and MNS blood group polymorphism. Multifactor analysis of variance in essential hypertension reveals significant (P = 0.001) differences in SLC activity for the presence or absence of Hp 2-1 phenotype and for body weight (P= 0.0003). Multivariate regression analysis shows the same parameters to be independent determining factors of SLC in essential arterial hypertension. No relation is found between SLC activity and target organ damage which includes coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, left ventricular hypertrophy and cerebrovascular accident. We conclude that erythrocyte SLC activity is elevated despite pressure-lowering: therapy. In essential arterial hypertension, individuals of Hp 2-1 phenotype show higher SLC activity than patients of other Hp-types, suggesting genetic heterogeneity of essential arterial hypertension. The presence or absence of Hp 2-1 phenotype is an independent determining factor of SLC activity whereas body weight codetermines SLC activity in essential hypertension.
- Sodium-lithium counter-transport