Findings on associations between APOL1 genetic variants and blood pressure in African- American mothers and children published in Environmental Research

March 28, 2022

Findings from a new ECHO PATHWAYS study were published in Environmental Research. Co-investigator Dr. Yu Ni was first author, and co-investigator Dr. Adam Szpiro and mPIs Drs. Catherine Karr, Nicole Bush, and Kaja LeWinn were on the writing team. The study examined whether African Americans who have the APOL1 high-risk genotype would be prone to having hypertension and whether exposures to air pollution and many other risk factors would exacerbate APOL1 related hypertension. Study participants were African- American mothers and children from Memphis, Tennessee who enrolled in the CANDLE study. Mothers were on average 30 years old and children were on average 4 years old when they had their blood pressure measured. The study did not find an association between carrying the APOL1 high-risk genotype and hypertension in African- American mothers or children. However, when African- American mothers who have this high-risk genotype were exposed to PM2.5, a type of common air pollutant, they were more likely to have higher diastolic blood pressure. The findings suggest that even though there is no direct link between the APOL1 high-risk genotype and hypertension, African- American women who have the APOL1 high-risk genotype may want additional preventions against air pollution exposures, to reduce their risk of having hypertension.