The angiotensinogen M235T polymorphism has been linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is an early marker of atherosclerosis. The objectives of the present study were to determine in previously untreated essential hypertensive patients whether carotid IMT was associated with the M235T polymorphism, and to determine whether the M235T polymorphism could influence the reduction of carotid IMT by antihypertensive treatment. Common carotid artery IMT was determined with a high-definition echotracking system in 98 previously untreated hypertensive patients in a cross-sectional study. A subgroup of 56 patients was included in a randomized double-blind parallel group study comparing the effect of the angiotensin-converting-enzyme-inhibitor enalapril with that of the β-blocker celiprolol during a 5 month period. In the cross-sectional study, a multivariate analysis showed that the M235T genotype was a significant independent determinant of carotid IMT, explaining 7% of the variance. Carotid IMT was higher in patients homozygous for the T allele than in MM patients. In the longitudinal study, the reduction in carotid IMT after antihypertensive treatment was significantly (P<0.01) higher in patients carrying the TT genotype than in patients carrying the MM genotype, despite similar reductions in blood pressure and independently of drug type. In conclusion, these data suggest that the angiotensinogen TT genotype at position 235 is a genetic marker for early carotid atherosclerosis in a hypertensive population and its regression under antihypertensive treatment.

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