Research Article

Inheritance of abnormal erythrocyte cation transport in essential hypertension.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 04 April 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1114
  1. P Meyer,
  2. R P Garay,
  3. C Nazaret,
  4. G Dagher,
  5. M Bellet,
  6. M Broyer,
  7. J Feingold


    Net fluxes of sodium and potassium ions were determined in sodium-loaded, potassium-depleted erythrocytes from 370 white subjects, 194 of whom had essential hypertension or had been born to parents with essential hypertension. Findings were compared with those in 86 controls who were normotensive and did not have a family history of hypertension. Compared with controls all patients with essential hypertension had a low sodium to potassium ratio secondary to a deficit in the sodium-potassium cotransport system. A similar abnormality was found in subjects born to parents with essential hypertension, the prevalences of a deficient cotransport system in such subjects being 53.6% (52 out of 97) among those with one hypertensive parent and 73.7% (14 out of 19) among those with two hypertensive parents. Both sexes were equally affected. Studies in 14 families over two or three generations showed the erythrocyte cation abnormality in one or more members of each consecutive generation. No close association was evident between the deficient erythrocyte sodium-potassium cotransport system and either blood groups ABO, Rh, Kidd, Duffy, P, and MNS or the major histocompatibility HLA antigens. Out of 90 consecutive unrelated and normotensive white blood donors, 36 showed a low erythrocyte sodium-potassium net flux ratio. It is concluded that in white people abnormal erythrocyte cation transport is a biochemical disorder characteristic of essential hypertension and transmitted by a dominant and autosomal mode expressing a single abnormal gene.