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Clinical and Molecular Genetic Features of Hereditary Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

  1. Laura Brenner,
  2. Wendy K. Chung

Published Online: 1 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/cphy.c100063

Comprehensive Physiology

Comprehensive Physiology

How to Cite

Brenner, L. and Chung, W. K. 2011. Clinical and Molecular Genetic Features of Hereditary Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Comprehensive Physiology. 1:1721–1728.

Author Information

  1. Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 OCT 2011


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disorder that may be hereditary (HPAH), idiopathic (IPAH), or associated with either drug-toxin exposures or other medical conditions. Familial cases have long been recognised and are usually due to mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 gene (BMPR2), or, much less commonly, two other members of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily, activin-like kinase-type 1 (ALK1), and endoglin (ENG), which are associated with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. In addition, approximately 20% of patients with IPAH carry mutations in BMPR2. Clinical testing for BMPR2 mutations is available and may be offered to HPAH and IPAH patients but should be preceded by genetic counselling, since lifetime penetrance is only 10% to 20%, and there are currently no known effective preventative measures. Identification of a familial mutation can be valuable in reproductive planning and identifying family members who are not mutation carriers and thus will not require lifelong surveillance. With advances in genomic technology and with international collaborative efforts, genome-wide association studies will be conducted to identify additional genes for HPAH, genetic modifiers for BMPR2 penetrance, and genetic susceptibility to IPAH. In addition, collaborative studies of BMPR2 mutation carriers should enable identification of environmental modifiers, biomarkers for disease development and progression, and surrogate markers for efficacy end points in clinical drug development, thereby providing an invaluable resource for trials of PAH prevention. © 2011 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 1:1721-1728, 2011.