Effect of age and affection status on blood pressure, serum potassium and stature in familial hyperkalaemia and hypertension

Alon Farfel, Haim Mayan, Semyon Melnikov, Eliezer J. Holtzman, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Zvi Farfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. The rare autosomal dominant genetic disorder familial hyperkalemia and hypertension which is caused by mutations in WNK4 kinase, is characterized by childhood hyperkalemia and hypercalciuria, and appearance of hypertension in the third to fourth decade. Accompanying short stature is often described.Methods. We determined height, blood pressure and blood and urinary biochemical parameters in members of a very large family of FHHt with the WNK4 Q565E mutation.Results. The family has 57 members, 30 of whom (including 14 children) are affected. Prehypertension occurred in 7/11 affected and 1/10 unaffected children (P = 0.024). Serum potassium (SK) was ~0.5 mmol/L higher in affected children vs adults [5.98 ± 0.42 vs 5.46 ± 0.40 mmol/L, respectively (P < 0.0001)] (33 samples from 11 children and 36 samples from eight adults). SK of < 6.0 mmol/L occurred in 16/33 children's samples and in 3/36 adults' samples (P = 0.0003). Hyperkalaemia in children is currently untreated. Children also had more severe hyperchloraemia and hypercalciuria. The family contains four large subfamilies, and each includes 810 siblings. In one subfamily, height Z-score was lower in affected vs unaffected subjects [-2.69 ± 0.36 vs-1.05 ± 0.16, respectively (P < 0.0001)]. In the other three subfamilies, no such difference was found.Conclusions. Short stature is not part of FHHt with the WNK4 Q565E mutation. Children affected with FHHt have a high prevalence of prehypertension, and their hyperkalaemia is more severe than that of affected adults. Children may have a more severe defect in the basic mechanism that produces hyperkalaemia. We suggest that, in affected adults, the attenuation of hyperkalaemia and appearance of hypertension may be the result of a late rise in the activity of renal transporters or channels such as the epithelial sodium channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1547-1553
Number of pages7
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • WNK kinases
  • children
  • hyperkalaemia
  • hypertension
  • short stature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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