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Using 930 individuals connected in a single pedigree from an isolated population, participants of the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study, we investigated the heritability of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), carotid intima media thickness (IMT), and carotid plaque score.PWV was measured between the carotid and femoral arteries as an indicator of aortic stiffness. Common carotid IMT and plaque score, quantifying alterations in arterial wall structure, were measured by ultrasonography.All 3 traits were significantly associated with classic cardiovascular risk factors. Age- and gender-adjusted heritability estimates were 0.36 for PWV, 0.41 for carotid IMT, and 0.28 for plaque score. After adjustment for appropriate risk factors, the heritabilities were 0.26, 0.35, and 0.21 for PWV, IMT, and plaque score, respectively. All heritability estimates were statistically significant (P<0.001). Taking into account different proportions of variance associated with covariates for each trait, genetic factors explained &12% of the total variability for each of the phenotypes.To our knowledge, this is the first report on the heritability of PWV. The heritability estimates of IMT and plaque score were similar to those in previous reports. We conclude that genetic factors significantly contribute to arterial structure and function in this isolated population, presenting the opportunity to locate susceptibility genes related to cardiovascular disorders.

Original publication

DOI

10.1161/01.str.0000185719.66735.dd

Type

Journal article

Journal

Stroke

Publication Date

11/2005

Volume

36

Pages

2351 - 2356

Addresses

Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Erasmus Medical Centre, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Keywords

Tunica Media, Cardiovascular System, Arteries, Carotid Arteries, Tunica Intima, Humans, Cardiovascular Diseases, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Body Mass Index, Multivariate Analysis, Models, Statistical, Risk Factors, Regression Analysis, Age Factors, Sex Factors, Phenotype, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Family Health, Netherlands, Female, Male