Salt-sensitive high blood pressure targeted by Tulane study

April 30, 2014

Arthur Nead
Phone: 504-247-1443


Dr. Jing Chen, associate professor of Medicine, is leading a Tulane study of salt-sensitive hypertension. Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano.

Dr. Jing Chen, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Tulane University School of Medicine, recently received a grant of $2.09 million from the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute (NHBLI) of the National Institutes of Health to study urinary biomarkers for salt-sensitive hypertension.

Chen and her team will analyze samples from more than 2,000 study subjects who participated in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Salt Sensitivity (GenSalt) study, a large dietary study sponsored by the NHBLI that was conducted among participants living in rural China during October 2003-July 2005.

During this study, families with some members having hypertension were recruited and medical histories and lifestyle risk factors were obtained for each participating family. Based on a family feeding design, the study included a series of dietary interventions: a seven-day low-sodium feeding, a seven-day high-sodium feeding and a seven-day high-sodium feeding with an oral potassium supplementation. Blood pressure readings, weight, blood and urine specimens were collected at the start and during follow-up visits.

The Tulane team will identify biomarkers such as urinary angiotensinogen, kallikrein, dopamine, norepinephrine, and albumin in samples from the GenSalt study that indicate blood pressure responses to the dietary sodium and potassium interventions and signal the risk of hypertension.

“The findings from this study may provide novel insights into the underlying biological mechanisms of salt-sensitivity and potassium-sensitivity; identify novel biomarkers for salt-sensitivity, potassium-sensitivity and risk of hypertension; and lead to the development of new pharmaceutical treatments for salt-sensitive hypertension,” says Chen.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000