Author(s): Miettinen HE, Piippo K, HannilaHandelberg T, Paukku K, Hiltunen TP,
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Abstract AIM: To study if gene alterations affecting renal sodium reabsorption associate with susceptibility to licorice-induced hypertension. METHODS: Finnish subjects (n = 30) with a previously documented incident of licorice-induced hypertension were recruited for the study using a newspaper announcement. Their previous clinical and family histories as well as serum electrolyte levels were examined. DNA samples from all individuals were screened for variants of the genes encoding 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11betaHSD2) and alpha-, beta-, and gamma-subunits of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). RESULTS: Upon licorice predisposition, the patients had a mean blood pressure of 201/118 mmHg. Circulating potassium, renin, and aldosterone levels were low. No significant DNA variations were identified in the 11betaHSD2 gene. Four subjects were heterozygous for beta- and gammaENaC variants previously shown to be associated with hypertension. Furthermore, a novel G insertion (2004-2005insG) in the SCNN1A gene encoding the alphaENaC was identified in two subjects. The frequency of these ENaC variants was significantly higher in subjects with licorice-induced hypertension (6/30 i.e. 20\%) than in blood donors (11/301 i.e. 3.7\%, P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Defects of the 11betaHSD2 gene do not constitute a likely cause for licorice-induced hypertension. Variants of the ENaC subunits may render some individuals sensitive to licorice-induced metabolic alterations and hypertension.
This article was published in Ann Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports