WNK kinases and essential hypertension

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The present review summarizes recent literature and discusses the potential roles of WNKs in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension. RECENT FINDINGS: WNKs (with-no-lysine [K]) are a recently discovered family of serine-threonine protein kinases with unusual protein kinase domains. The role of WNK kinases in the control of blood pressure was first revealed by the findings that mutations of two members, WNK1 and WNK4, cause Gordon's syndrome. Laboratory studies have revealed that WNK kinases play important roles in the regulation of sodium and potassium transport. Animal models have been created to unravel the pathophysiology of sodium transport disorders caused by mutations of the WNK4 gene. Potassium deficiency causes sodium retention and increases hypertension prevalence. The expression of WNK1 is upregulated by potassium deficiency, raising the possibility that WNK1 may contribute to salt-sensitive essential hypertension associated with potassium deficiency. Associations of polymorphisms of WNK genes with essential hypertension in the general population have been reported. SUMMARY: Mutations of WNK1 and WNK4 cause hypertension at least partly by increasing renal sodium retention. The role of WNK kinases in salt-sensitive hypertension within general hypertension is suggested, but future work is required to firmly establish the connection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in nephrology and hypertension
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Gordon's syndrome
  • PHA II
  • Pseudohypoaldosteronism type II
  • Salt-sensitive hypertension
  • WNK1
  • WNK4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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