Hypertension is a common multifactorial disorder associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. The kidney plays a major role in the long term regulation of blood pressure. Liddle syndrome (pseudo-hyperaldosteronism) is one of a number of monogenic disorders of salt and water transport. In a kindred with at least four affected members suffering from Liddle syndrome, we confirmed by direct DNA sequencing the identity of a novel heterozygous mutation in h betaENaC, the gene encoding the beta subunit of the amiloride sensitive epithelial sodium channel which is expressed in the distal nephron. Single stranded conformational polymorphism analysis showed cosegregation of the mutant allele within the kindred with the Liddle phenotype. An insertion of an additional cytosine into a string of six located between codons 593 and 595 results in a sequence frameshift and is predicted to produce a protein truncated by 34 amino acids. The availability of a molecular diagnostic tool has implications for the management of hypertension and genetic counselling in families with Liddle syndrome.
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