1] Translational Research Center, Ehime University Hospital, Toon, Ehime, Japan  Division of Anti-aging and Genetics, Ehime University Proteo-Medicine Research Center, Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan.
The Millennium Genome Project for Hypertension was started in 2000 to identify genetic variants conferring susceptibility tohypertension, with the aim of furthering the understanding of the pathogenesis of this condition and realizing genome-based personalized medical care. Two different approaches were launched, genome-wide association analysis using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and microsatellite markers, and systematic candidate gene analysis, under the hypothesis that common variants have an important role in the etiology of common diseases. These multilateral approaches identified ATP2B1 as a gene responsible for hypertension in not only Japanese but also Caucasians. The high blood pressure susceptibility conferred by certain alleles of ATP2B1 has been widely replicated in various populations. Ex vivo mRNA expression analysis in umbilical artery smooth muscle cells indicated that reduced expression of this gene associated with the risk allele may be an underlying mechanism relating the ATP2B1 variant to hypertension. However, the effect size of a SNP was too small to clarify the entire picture of the genetic basis of hypertension. Further, dense genome analysis with accurate phenotype data may be required.