Association between ADRA1A gene and the metabolic syndrome: Candidate genes and functional counterpart in the PAMELA population

Guido Grassi, Sandosh Padmanabhan, Cristina Menni, Gino Seravalle, Wai K. Lee, Michele Bombelli, Gianmaria Brambilla, Fosca Quarti-Trevano, Cristina Giannattasio, Giancarlo Cesana, Anna Dominiczak, Giuseppe Mancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: There is currently uncertainty about whether metabolic syndrome has a common underlying process. We performed a gene-centric association study of metabolic syndrome in 98 major cardiometabolic genes in the large, well phenotyped Pressioni Arteriose Monitorate e Loro Associazioni (PAMELA) study. We followed this with functional studies to elucidate a possible mechanism for the top association signal. Methods: From the PAMELA cohort, we sampled 1407 individuals with information on the metabolic syndrome (ATPIII criteria). We analyzed 1324 tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 98 candidate genes selected, based on known pathways involved in sympathetic nervous system, oxidative stress, renin-angiotensin system and sodium balance. Results: The SNP rs17055869 near the alpha-1A-adrenoreceptor gene (ADRA1A) showed the strongest association with metabolic syndrome (odds ratio 1.7, CI 1.3-2.2; P = 0.00007, P = 0.000098 after permutation). In order to determine a functional basis for this association, we examined in a subgroup of metabolic syndrome patients whether the allelic distribution of the above-mentioned gene is different according to the different degree of the metabolic syndrome-related sympathetic activation, directly assessed by the gold standard method to assess neuroadrenergic drive, that is microneurographic recording of efferent postganglionic muscle sympathetic nerve traffic. All metabolic syndrome patients with a lesser degree of sympathetic activation were homozygous for the major allele (C), whereas those with a very pronounced sympathetic overdrive had an over-representation of the minor T allele (P <0.0001). Conclusion: Thus, the rs17055869 SNP near the 3′ end of ADRA1A is significantly associated with metabolic syndrome and it may be involved in determining a greater level of sympathetic activation in metabolic syndrome patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1127
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • association
  • genetics
  • metabolic syndrome
  • microneurography
  • sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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