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Cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death worldwide, is rapidly increasing in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly those of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)(World Health Organization). Hypertension is the leading risk factor for CVD and is a multifactorial disease with no single genetic cause. Increasingly, evidence indicates that hypertension is predisposed by environmental regulation of genes through heritable, yet modifiable, epigenetic changes to DNA leading to changes in gene expression, e.g. methylation. While understanding the etiology of hypertension in LMICs is a global priority, few epigenetic studies exist from populations living in SSA (Fan). The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is the primary hormonal pathway that regulates blood pressure through changes in salt and water retention. Previously, we have found a high prevalence of hypertension (55 % had systolic blood pressure (SBP) >130 mmHg) in a rural population of Kenyans that was not correlated with lifestyle or behavioral factors (Williams).

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Medicine and Health Sciences

DNA Methylation of the AGTR1 Gene in a Hypertensive Population of Kenyans