Examining the effect of mitochondrial DNA variants on blood pressure in two Finnish cohorts

Jaakko Laaksonen, Pashupati P. Mishra, Ilkka Seppälä, Leo-Pekka Lyytikäinen, Emma Raitoharju, Nina Mononen, Maija Lepistö, Henrikki Almusa, Pekka Ellonen, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Markus Juonala, Olli Raitakari, Mika Kähönen, Jukka T. Salonen, Terho Lehtimäki

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High blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for many noncommunicable diseases. The effect of mitochondrial DNA single-nucleotide polymorphisms (mtSNPs) on BP is less known than that of nuclear SNPs. We investigated the mitochondrial genetic determinants of systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial BP. MtSNPs were determined from peripheral blood by sequencing or with genome-wide association study SNP arrays in two independent Finnish cohorts, the Young Finns Study and the Finnish Cardiovascular Study, respectively. In total, over 4200 individuals were included. The effects of individual common mtSNPs, with an additional focus on sex-specificity, and aggregates of rare mtSNPs grouped by mitochondrial genes were evaluated by meta-analysis of linear regression and a sequence kernel association test, respectively. We accounted for the predicted pathogenicity of the rare variants within protein-encoding and the tRNA regions. In the meta-analysis of 87 common mtSNPs, we did not observe significant associations with any of the BP traits. Sex-specific and rare-variant analyses did not pinpoint any significant associations either. Our results are in agreement with several previous studies suggesting that mtDNA variation does not have a significant role in the regulation of BP. Future studies might need to reconsider the mechanisms thought to link mtDNA with hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Article number611
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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