DNA Methylation and Blood Pressure Phenotypes: A Review of the Literature

Marguerite R. Irvin, Alana C. Jones, Steven A. Claas, Donna K. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Genetic studies of DNA have been unable to explain a significant portion of the variance of the estimated heritability of blood pressure (BP). Epigenetic mechanisms, particularly DNA methylation, have helped explain additional biological processes linked to BP phenotypes and diseases. Candidate gene methylation studies and genome-wide methylation studies of BP have highlighted impactful cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) markers across different ethnicities. Furthermore, many of these BP-related CpG sites are also linked to metabolism-related phenotypes. Integrating epigenome-wide association study data with other layers of molecular data such as genotype data (from single nucleotide polymorphism arrays or sequencing), other epigenetic data, and/or transcriptome data can provide additional information about the significance and complexity of these relationships. Recent data suggest that epigenetic changes can be consequences rather than causes of BP variation. Finally, these data can give insight into downstream effects of long-standing high BP (due to target organ damage (TOD)). The current review provides a literature overview of epigenetic modifications in BP and TOD. Recent studies strongly support the importance of epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, in BP and TOD for relevant biological insights, reliable biomarkers, and possible future therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • blood pressure
  • genomics
  • hypertension
  • methylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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