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Genetic Dominance Influences Blood Biomarker Levels in a Sample of 12,000 Swedish Elderly Twins

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Iffat Rahman
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Anna M. Bennet
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Nancy L. Pedersen
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Ulf de Faire
Affiliation:
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Cardiology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Per Svensson
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Patrik K. E. Magnusson
Affiliation:
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Patrik.Magnusson@ki.se
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

In twin studies of cardiovascular disease biomarkers the dizygotic correlations are often estimated to be less than half of monozygotic correlations indicating a potential influence of nonadditive genetic factors. Using a large and homogenous sample, we estimated the additive and dominance genetic influences on levels of high density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, apolipoprotein A-I, apolipoprotein B, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, hemoglobin Alc and c-reactive protein, all of which are biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease. The blood biomarkers were measured on 12,000 Swedish twins born between 1911 and 1958. The large sample allowed us to obtain heritability estimates with considerable precision and provided adequate statistical power for estimation of dominance genetic components. Our study showed complete absence of the shared environment component for the investigated traits. Dominant genetic component was shown to be significant for low density lipoprotein (0.18), glucose (0.31), Hemoglobin Alc (0.55), and c-reactive protein (0.27). To our knowledge, this is the first statistically significant evidence for dominance genetic variance found for low density lipoprotein, glucose, hemoglobin Alc, and c-reactive protein in a population based twin sample. The study highlights the importance of acknowledging nonadditive genes underlying the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009
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