Genetic variants in the α2C-adrenoceptor and G-protein contribute to ethnic differences in cardiovascular stress responses

Daniel Kurnik, Eitan A. Friedman, Mordechai Muszkat, Gbenga G. Sofowora, Hong Guang Xie, William D. Dupont, Alastair J.J. Wood, C. Michael Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Cardiovascular responses to stressors are regulated by sympathetic activity, increased in black Americans, and associated with future cardiovascular morbidity. Our aim was to determine whether two functional variants in genes regulating sympathetic activity, a deletion in the α2C-adrenergic receptor (ADRA2C del322ĝ€"325) and a G-protein β23-subunit variant (GNB3 G825T), affect cardiovascular responses to physiologic stressors and contribute to their ethnic differences. METHODS: We measured heart rate and blood pressure responses to a cold pressor test (CPT) in 79 healthy participants (40 blacks, 39 whites), aged 25.7±5.3 years, and determined genotypes for the ADRA2C and GNB3 variants. We examined the response variables (increase in heart rate and blood pressure) in multiple linear regression analyses adjusting first for baseline measures, ethnicity, and other covariates, and then additionally for genotypes. RESULTS: Black participants had a greater heart rate response to CPT than whites [mean difference, 9.9ĝ€‰bpm; 95% confidence interval (CI), 4.1 to 15.6; P≤0.001]. Both the ADRA2C del/del (15.8ĝ€‰bpm; 95% CI, 8.0ĝ€"23.7; P<0.001) and GNB3 T/T genotypes (6.8ĝ€‰bpm; 95% CI, 0.9ĝ€"12.7; P≤0.026) were associated with greater heart rate response. After adjusting for genotypes, the ethnic difference was abrogated (1.3ĝ€‰bpm; 95% CI, ĝ̂'5.4ĝ€"8.0; P≤0.70), suggesting that the genetic variants contributed substantially to ethnic differences. CONCLUSION: Variation in genes that regulate sympathetic activity affects hemodynamic stress responses and contributes to their ethnic differences. This study elucidates how genetic factors may in part explain ethnic differences in cardiovascular regulation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)743-750
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacogenetics and Genomics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenergic receptors
  • Cardiovascular physiology
  • Ethnic groups
  • G-protein β3-subunit
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • α-2


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