Why African-Americans Are At Greater Risk Of Hypertension And Kidney Disease

Physician-scientists from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center believe that a heightened level a certain growth factor in the blood may explain why blacks have a greater prevalence of hypertension and kidney disease compared to whites. Results from a new study are the first to show that an elevated level of a protein, called transforming growth factor B1 (TGF-B1), raises the risk of hypertension and renal disease in humans.

African Americans constitute about 32 percent of all patients treated for kidney failure in the U.S. and are four times more likely to develop renal disease than whites, according to the National Institutes of Health’s U.S. Renal Data System. The researchers’ findings, published in this month’s issue of the journal Kidney International, may someday lead to the development of a new class of anti-hypertensive and kidney disease drugs that target the TGF-B1 protein.

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