Objective: Observational epidemiologic studies and clinical trials have documented that dietary potassium intake lowers blood pressure (BP). We examined the association between genetic variants in the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system and BP responses to potassium intervention.
Methods: A 7-day high-sodium followed by a 7-day high-sodium plus 60 mmol/day potassium-supplementation feeding study was conducted among 1906 participants from rural northern China. Nine BP measurements were obtained at each intervention phase using a random-zero sphygmomanometer and 181 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 11 candidate genes of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system were used for analyses.
Results: Several SNPs in nuclear receptor subfamily 3, group C, member 2 (NR3C2), angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AGTR1), hydroxysteroid (11-beta) dehydrogenase 1 (HSD11B1), and hydroxysteroid (11-beta) dehydrogenase 2 (HSD11B2) genes were significantly associated with BP responses to potassium intervention. For example, the number of G alleles of the N554S missense mutation (rs5527) of NR3C2 was significantly associated with greater SBP responses to potassium intervention; mean [95% confidence interval (CI)] responses (mmHg) were −3.33 (−3.65 to −3.02) for genotype A/A and −5.47 (−6.64 to −4.29) for A/G, respectively (P value = 0.0004). In addition, the number of C alleles of the A1166C variant (rs5186) in AGTR1 was significantly and inversely associated with SBP responses to potassium intervention; mean (95% CI) responses were −3.55 (−3.87 to −3.24) for genotype A/A, −2.45 (−3.27 to −1.62) for A/C, and 3.25 (−5.73 to 12.23) for CC (P value = 0.003).
Conclusion: These novel findings indicated that genetic variants in the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system may play an important role in determining an individual's BP responses to dietary potassium intake.