European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation vol:18 issue:4 pages:656-663
Baseline blood pressure (BP) is the strongest known determinant of progression to hypertension, but for an individualized prediction of the incidence of hypertension, the identification of additional biomarkers is crucial. In animal models of hypertension, renal nitric oxide (NO) handling modifies the systemic BP responses prior to the development of hypertension. This study aimed to evaluate whether urinary NO metabolites (NOx) predict the progression of hypertension in normotensive subjects. Among 62 participants enrolled in the Flemish Study on Environment, Genes and Health Outcomes, we assessed progression to hypertension over 4.6 years. In a case-control design, 49 normotensive subjects including 10 subjects with high-normal blood pressure were enrolled of whom 25 remained normotensive (controls), whereas 24 'progressed' to hypertension (progressors). Thirteen hypertensive patients served as negative controls. Urinary NOx concentration, renal function and the urinary excretion of electrolytes were assessed at baseline and follow-up. At baseline, progressors showed higher BP values than controls and urinary NOx concentration was significantly lower in progressors as compared to the normotensive controls (p < 0.01). In all initially normotensive subjects baseline urinary NOx concentration was associated with follow-up BP (r=-0.55, p < 0.001) and the relative increase of BP over time (r=-0.47, p < 0.001). In progressors baseline urinary NOx was associated with follow-up BP (r=-0.52, p < 0.009) and the relative increase of BP over time (r=-0.44, p=0.033). Baseline urinary NOx and BP were independent predictors for the relative BP increase. A urinary NOx threshold of < 130.5 mg/L predicted 75% of all progressors. In context with high-normal baseline BP, 87.5% of all progressors were identified. These findings indicate that urinary NO metabolites are associated with BP development in normotensive subjects. Moreover, urinary NOx predicts the progression to hypertension independent of baseline BP suggesting urinary NOx as a biomarker for individual new-onset hypertension.