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Comparing Blood Pressure of Twins and Their Singleton Siblings: Being a Twin Does Not Affect Adult Blood Pressure

  • Eco J.C. de Geus (a1), Danielle Posthuma (a2), Richard G. IJzerman (a3) and Dorret I. Boomsma (a4)

Abstract

The hypothesis was tested that monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, with their lower average birth weight, have higher adult blood pressure than their singleton brothers or sisters. From the Netherlands Twin Registry, 261 twin families were recruited from a young adult and an older adult cohort with mean ages of 26.2 and 50.4 respectively. These families yielded 204 MZ twins with 71 singleton siblings and 271 DZ twins with 103 of their singleton siblings. Anti-hypertensive medication use of these 649 participants was assessed twice with a two-year interval. Resting blood pressure was measured thrice during a standardized laboratory protocol. In spite of a significant difference in birth weight (1036 gram), no differences were found in anti-hypertensive medication use at both time points between twins and singletons nor between their resting laboratory diastolic or systolic blood pressure. These results applied to each gender and to both age cohorts. Limiting the analyses to matched twin-sibling pairs of the same families and taking current weight and height into account did not change the results; no evidence was found for a twin-singleton difference. It was concluded that estimates of genetic and environmental contributions to blood pressure deriving from twin studies do not appear to be biased and may be generalized to singletons. Our results suggest that the lower birth weight in twins does not reflect the intrauterine disadvantage described by the Barker hypothesis.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: EJC De Geus, Vrije Universiteit, Department of Biological Psychology, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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Comparing Blood Pressure of Twins and Their Singleton Siblings: Being a Twin Does Not Affect Adult Blood Pressure

  • Eco J.C. de Geus (a1), Danielle Posthuma (a2), Richard G. IJzerman (a3) and Dorret I. Boomsma (a4)

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