Multivariate genetic analysis of blood pressure and body size. The Medical College of Virginia Twin Study.
BACKGROUND In subjects of all ages, those who weigh the most often have the highest blood pressure. Thus, in epidemiological studies, weight is the most important correlate of blood pressure. Using the data from the Medical College of Virginia Twin Study, we asked these questions: 1) Do the same genetic paths that regulate body size also regulate systolic and diastolic blood pressure? 2) Are there distinct genetic pathways that regulate each of these variables? 3) Does environment play a major regulatory role? 4) Are the correlations among these variables mainly due to genetic or environmental effects? 5) Do genetic paths that regulate body size mediate the correlation between systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure?
METHODS AND RESULTS We ascertained 253 Caucasian twin pairs living in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The average age was 11.2 +/- 0.2 years. We used multivariate path analyses to investigate the genetic relations among systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and body size. We found that there was a highly significant genetic relation between systolic blood pressure and body size and between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. There are genetic paths that are shared within these two sets of variables, but in each case, the paths for each pair appear to be separate from one another.
CONCLUSIONS These analyses provide a method to partition correlation coefficients found in epidemiological studies into genetic and environmental components. The correlations found among these three variables are in large part due to these genetic relations. We found no genetic relation between diastolic blood pressure and body size.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association