BACKGROUND Hypertension (HTN) represents a complex heritable disease in which environmental factors may directly affect gene function via epigenetic mechanisms. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that dietary salt influences the activity of a histone-modifying enzyme, lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD-1), which in turn is associated with salt-sensitivity of blood pressure (BP). METHODS Animal and human studies were performed. Salt-sensitivity of LSD-1 expression was assessed in wild-type (WT) and LSD-1 heterozygote knockout (LSD-1(+/-)) mice. Clinical relevance was tested by multivariate associations between single-nuclear polymorphisms (SNPs) in the LSD-1 gene and salt-sensitivity of BP, with control of dietary sodium, in a primary African-American hypertensive cohort and two replication hypertensive cohorts (Caucasian and Mexican-American). RESULTS LSD-1 expression was modified by dietary salt in WT mice with lower levels associated with liberal salt intake. LSD-1(+/-) mice expressed lower LSD-1 protein levels than WT mice in kidney tissue. Similar to LSD-1(+/-) mice, African-American minor allele carriers of two LSD-1 SNPs displayed greater change in systolic BP (SBP) in response to change from low to liberal salt diet (rs671357, P = 0.01; rs587168, P = 0.005). This association was replicated in the Hispanic (rs587168, P = 0.04) but not the Caucasian cohort. Exploratory analyses demonstrated decreased serum aldosterone concentrations in African-American minor allele carriers similar to findings in the LSD-1(+/-) mice, decreased α-EnaC expression in LSD-1(+/-) mice, and impaired renovascular responsiveness to salt loading in minor allele carriers. CONCLUSION The results of this translational research study support a role for LSD-1 in the pathogenesis of salt-sensitive HTN.