Genetics of Primary Aldosteronism


Primary aldosteronism is considered the commonest cause of secondary hypertension. In affected individuals, aldosterone is produced in an at least partially autonomous fashion in adrenal lesions (adenomas, [micro]nodules or diffuse hyperplasia). Over the past decade, next-generation sequencing studies have led to the insight that primary aldosteronism is largely a genetic disorder. Sporadic cases are due to somatic mutations, mostly in ion channels and pumps, and rare cases of familial hyperaldosteronism are caused by germline mutations in an overlapping set of genes. More than 90% of aldosterone-producing adenomas carry somatic mutations in K+ channel Kir3.4 (KCNJ5), Ca2+ channel CaV1.3 (CACNA1D), alpha-1 subunit of the Na+/K+ ATPase (ATP1A1), plasma membrane Ca2+ transporting ATPase 3 (ATP2B3), Ca2+ channel CaV3.2 (CACNA1H), Cl channel ClC-2 (CLCN2), β-catenin (CTNNB1), and/or G-protein subunits alpha q/11 (GNAQ/11). Mutations in some of these genes have also been identified in aldosterone-producing (micro)nodules, suggesting a disease continuum from a single cell, acquiring a somatic mutation, via a nodule to adenoma formation, and from a healthy state to subclinical to overt primary aldosteronism. Individual glands can have multiple such lesions, and they can occur on both glands in bilateral disease. Familial hyperaldosteronism, typically with early onset, is caused by germline mutations in steroid 11-beta hydroxylase/ aldosterone synthase (CYP11B1/2), CLCN2KCNJ5CACNA1H, and CACNA1D.

Authors: Ute I. Scholl
Keywords: aldosterone synthase, CYP11B1, CYP11B2, CLCN2, KCNJ5, CACNA1H, CACNA1D
DOI Number: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.121.16498      Publication Year: 2022

To search for other research papers by topic, keyword, author, or year, please go to our Publications page.