Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital claim that they have identified eight genetic variants associated with hypertension.
The research team, as a part of Global Blood Pressure Genetics (Global BPgen) study group, analysed the genome of 130,000 individuals from around the world.
They discovered several chromosomal regions where genes influencing blood pressure appeared to be located.
For further analysis, the researchers genotyped 12 gene variants in more than 71,000 additional individuals of European descent and in 12,300 people of Indian Asian ancestry.
They also exchanged their top results with CHARGE consortium investigators.
Combining the results of all three analyses led to the identification of eight gene regions associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and with the risk of hypertension.
One region includes genes for two natriuretic peptides, proteins known to relax blood vessels and control sodium excretion by the kidneys.
"This is a major advance because it identifies novel pathways that may expand our current understanding of the determinants of blood pressure and highlight potential targets for new drugs to treat or possibly even prevent hypertension," Nature magazine quoted Dr. Christopher Newton-Cheh, of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Human Genetic Research and Cardiovascular Research Center, first and co-corresponding author of the report.
"These findings suggest exciting new avenues for blood pressure treatments that have not been explored because we had no way of knowing the gene regions were involved in blood pressure regulation," he added.
The findings appear in journal Nature Genetics.