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J Am Heart Assoc


Background: The renal mechanisms involved in the maintenance of human hypertension and resistance to treatment are not well understood. Animal studies suggest that chronic renal inflammation contributes to hypertension. We studied cells shed in first-morning urine samples from individuals who were hypertensive who exhibited difficult-to-control blood pressure (BP). We performed bulk RNA sequencing of these shed cells to develop transcriptome-wide associations with BP. We also analyzed nephron-specific genes and used an unbiased bioinformatic approach to find signaling pathways activated in difficult-to-control hypertension.

Methods and Results: Participants who completed the SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) at a single trial site were recruited, and cells shed in first-morning urine samples collected. A total of 47 participants were divided into 2 groups based on hypertension control. The BP-difficult group (n=29) had systolic BP>140 mm Hg, >120 mm Hg after intensive treatment for hypertension, or required more than the median number of antihypertensive drugs used in SPRINT. The easy-to-control BP group (n=18) comprised the remainder of the participants. A total of 60 differentially expressed genes were identified with a >2-fold change in the BP-difficult group. In BP-difficult participants, 2 of the most upregulated genes were associated with inflammation: Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Induced Protien 6 (fold change, 7.76; P=0.006) and Serpin Family B Member 9 (fold change, 5.10; P=0.007). Biological pathway analysis revealed an overrepresentation of inflammatory networks, including interferon signaling, granulocyte adhesion and diapedesis, and Janus Kinase family kinases in the BP-difficult group (P<0.001).

Conclusions: We conclude that transcriptomes from cells shed in first-morning urine identify a gene expression profile in difficult-to-control hypertension that associates with renal inflammation.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Transcriptome; Hypertension; Blood Pressure; Antihypertensive Agents; Nephritis; Inflammation

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