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We aimed to assess shared genetic correlations of depressive and anxiety symptoms with concurrent and future estimated cardiovascular risk (CVR) score in Korean twins and family members. For the relationship with Adult Treatment Panel III CVR estimate in subjects aged 30–74 years (n = 1,059, baseline and follow-up after 3.2 ± 1.2 years), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and state and trait anxiety inventory (SAI and TAI) were measured at baseline. A mixed linear model for CVR scores at baseline and follow-up was applied to include depressive and anxiety symptoms, twin and family effects, income, education, alcohol use, exercise, body mass index, and baseline CVR score for follow-up analysis. Higher CES-D scores were associated with higher CVR score at baseline in men, while higher TAI score was associated with higher CVR score at follow-up in women. Heritabilities were 0.245~0.326 for CVR score, 0.320 for CES-D score, 0.367 for TAI score, and 0.482 for SAI score. There were significant common genetic correlations in the relationships of CES-D, TAI, and SAI scores with CVR scores at baseline and follow-up (after adjusting for baseline CV risk score). Shared common environmental correlations were observed in the relationships of CES-D and SAI scores with CVR score at baseline; and SAI score with CVR score at follow-up. In the within-monozygotic twin analysis, there were no associations between CES-D, TAI, and SAI scores, and CVR score. In conclusion, shared genetic and environmental influences were observed in the relationship between depressive and anxiety symptoms with concurrent and future CVR estimates.
Family study can provide estimates of overall genetic influences on a particular trait because family relationships provide accurate measures of average genetic sharing. However, evidence of genetic contributions to skin phenotypes is limited, which may preclude genetic studies to identify genetic variants or to understand underlying molecular biology of skin traits. This study aimed to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to selected dermatologic phenotypes, that is, to melanin index, sebum secretion, and skin humidity level in a Korean twin-family cohort. We investigated more than 2,000 individuals from 486 families, including 388 monozygotic twin pairs and 82 dizygotic twin pairs. Variance component method was used to estimate genetic influences in terms of heritability. Heritability of skin melanin index, sebum secretion, and skin humidity (arm and cheek) were estimated to be 0.44 [95% CI 0.38–0.49], 0.21 [95% CI 0.16–0.26], 0.13 [95% CI 0.07–0.18], and 0.11 [95% CI 0.06–0.16] respectively, after adjusting for confounding factors. Our findings suggest that genetics play a major role on skin melanin index, but only mild roles on sebum secretion and humidity. Sebum secretion and skin humidity are controlled predominantly by environmental factors notably on shared environments among family members. We expect that our findings add insight to determinants of common dermatologic traits, and serve as a reference for biologic studies.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
We aimed to assess the non-genetic contribution to the associations between the change in weight and changes in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. This analysis included 194 Korean monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs (116 men, 272 women; mean age, 38.5 ± 6.8 years) who were first examined for weight and CVD risk factors (blood pressure (BP), glucose, total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)) between December 2005 and December 2008, and returned for a repeat examination after 2.7 ± 0.9 years. The within-pair correlations were 0.21 for the change in weight and 0.05-0.42 for the changes in CVD risk factors. Bivariate analyses showed significant environmental correlations shared between the change in weight and the changes in CVD risk factors (p < .05), except for glucose, while there were no significant genetic effects shared between the phenotypes. After adjusting for baseline values of weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), TG, TC, and LDL significantly increased by 1.6 mmHg, 0.09 mmol/L, 0.10 mmol/L, and 0.09 mmol/L, respectively, per 1 kg increase in within-pair differences in weight change. In Korean MZ twins, similarity between twins for changes in weight and CVD risk factors were small to moderate, and non-genetic factors were responsible for the associations between the change in weight and changes in DBP, TG, TC, and LDL.
We aimed to investigate the association between weight change from 20 years of age and insulin resistance (IR), and genetic and environmental relationships between these traits. In 594 Korean twins and family members (209 men, 385 women, 44.0 ± 10.8 years old), the percentage of weight change was calculated using self-reported body weight at 20 years of age and currently measured bodyweight. IR traits were assessed using fasting plasma glucose and insulin, the homeostasis model assessment of IR index (HOMA-IR), and the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). Linear mixed analysis was applied after adjusting for household, body mass index (BMI) at the age of 20 years, age, sex, alcohol, smoking, physical activity, and caloric intake. Heritabilities and genetic and environmental correlations were estimated after adjusting for covariates. In 55 monozygotic twin pairs discordant for HOMA-IR level by >0.3, a conditional logistic regression analysis was conducted regarding weight change. Increases in glucose, insulin, and HOMA-IR and a decrease in QUICKI were associated with a higher percentage of weight change (p < .05). Estimated heritabilities for IR traits were 0.401–0.606 (p < .001). In cross-trait relationships, environmental correlations were -0.43–0.42 (p < .05 for all IR), while genetic correlations were -0.27–0.27 (p < .05 for QUICKI, insulin, and HOMA-IR). In 55 pairs of monozygotic twins, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for having a higher level of HOMA-IR was 1.10 (1.03–1.17) with 1% increase in weight change since 20 years old, after adjusting for lifestyle-related factors. In conclusion, both genetic and environmental influences played significant roles in the positive association between weight change from 20 years of age and IR.
Hallux valgus (HV) is a common foot deformity of multifactorial etiology, but knowledge about the relative importance of genetics and environments on HV has been limited. In order to estimate genetic influences on HV, 1,265 adults, including 175 monozygotic twin (MZ) pairs, 31 dizygotic twin (DZ) pairs, and 853 first-degree singleton family members of the twins were included from the Healthy Twin study, a population-based twin-family cohort in Korea. All participants underwent foot examination and weight-bearing radiographic assessment (anterior-posterior and lateral) in addition to a general health survey. Of the subjects, 208 (16.4%) were classified as HV (as HV angle >20°). The genetic influence on HV was estimated to be substantial; the heritability of HV was 0.51 (95% CI 0.42–0.59) and the heritability of HV angle was 0.47 (0.38–0.56), while contributions from shared environmental effects were negligible. These findings suggest that genetic factors play an important role in determining HV deformity.
The Healthy Twin Study, Korea (HT) is an ongoing multi-center cohort study that was initiated in 2005, based on a nation-wide twin and family database. Since its inception, the HT has recruited 815 pairs of adult twins and a total of 3,690 individual twins and their families as of July 2012. Here we summarize updates since the previous report in 2006. Besides the increase in size, the HT has been enriched in several aspects: a biobank was constructed for ongoing and future omics studies; and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism markers (Affymetrix GeneChip version 6.0, 1 M probes) have been analyzed for 2,200 individuals, which enabled gene identification studies for measured phenotypes. In addition, longitudinal study protocols were established through the HT and a second wave survey was finished in 2010 with >70% follow-up rate. The parallel genome research projects were recently launched, which would expedite multi-omics studies maximizing the twin potentials such as metagenomics and epigenetics studies, and endow us with resources for recruiting more participants. We submit this report to share updates and research opportunities from the HT.
Determining valid zygosity is a basic and important requirement in a twin study, because misdiagnosing zygosity leads to biased results. The Healthy Twin Study has collected data from adult like-sex twins and their families since 2005. In the study, a questionnaire to determine zygosity was developed comprising four questions; one concerning the degree of resemblance, and three concerning the degree of confusion by the resemblance. Among 2,761 individuals (624 twin pairs) of twin and their families, 406 pairs of twins (mean age 38.3, 63.5% women) with both questionnaire and genotype information were selected to examine the validity of the zygosity questionnaire using 16 short tandem repeat markers. We first determined individual zygosity including undetermined category, and then decided the zygosity of a twin pair using a decision tree. Sensitivity of questionnaire diagnosis was 98.8% for monozygotic (MZ) and 88.9% for dizygotic (DZ) twins, and positive predictive value was 97.2% for MZ and 95.0% for DZ. When we compared correctly and wrongly diagnosed twin pairs, misdiagnosed DZ twins (nine pairs) showed striking similarity in stature or obesity even exceeding that of true MZ twins. Our finding suggests that a parsimonious questionnaire method of diagnosing the zygosity will be useful, and adding physical or physiological measurements to a questionnaire of zygosity diagnosis will either confound the correct diagnosis or reduce the efficiency of the study compared with using questionnaire alone or with introducing genotyping.
We explored heritabilities of the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and associations including genetic and environmental correlations between the phenotypes among Korean twins and their families. We analyzed the data of 1,748 participants (835 men, 913 women, 656 individuals of monozygotic twins, 173 individuals of same-sexed dizygotic twins, 919 non-twin family members, age 30–79 years) from the Healthy Twin study. Heritabilities and bivariate analyses were assessed using the SOLAR package software. In the methods of generalized estimation equations, women in the 4th quartile of state and trait scores were 17% and 15%, respectively more likely to be hazardous alcohol users compared to women in the lower three quartiles (P < .05). However, there were no significant associations between these phenotypes in men. After adjusting for age and squared age, the heritability estimates were 0.26 in men and 0.34 in women for the state score; for the trait score, 0.35 in men and 0.31 in women; for the AUDIT score, 0.32 in men and 0.37 in women (P < .001). After adjusting for age and squared age, there was a significant genetic correlation between the trait score and the AUDIT score, and a significant non-genetic correlation between the state score and the AUDIT score in women, while there were no significant genetic or non-genetic correlations between these phenotypes in men. The STAI and AUDIT scores are heritable in Koreans and the relationships between these phenotypes may be inconsistent by sex.
‘Healthy Twin’ is a twin family study extension of the existing Korean Twin-Family Register. Healthy Twin recruits adult like-sex twins over the age of 30 and their adult family members. Healthy Twin protocols are primarily tailored to the study of the quantitative trait loci of complex traits as well as to the role of environment in the etiology of complex diseases. A full-length survey is underway, including questionnaires, health examinations and the collection of biological specimens. So far, 820 individuals (169 twin pairs and their families) have participated in the survey and 1068 individual twins (608 twin pairs) have replied to the mailed zygosity questionnaire as of July 2006. The first phase (2005–2006) of Healthy Twin will recruit 1550 individuals (including about 380 twin pairs), and the second phase a proposed 1500 to 2500 additional participants. We report study protocols and zygosity and the distribution of family size of the study participants.
To examine gender-specific relationships between alcohol drinking patterns (average drinking frequency, typical drinking quantity and frequency of binge drinking) and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its components in the Korean population.
Cross-sectional study using complex sampling design analyses.
The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV, which was conducted in 2008.
Current drinkers (n 3793, 1963 men and 1830 women).
After adjusting for confounders (age, educational level, income, physical activity, smoking, energy intake and drinking frequency in the analysis for drinking quantity), the associations of drinking quantity and frequency of binge drinking with the prevalence of MetS were gender-specific. Seven or more drinks for men and ≥3 drinks for women per typical occasion and binge drinking ≥1 time/week for both sexes resulted in significantly higher odds for the prevalence of MetS compared with men and women who had 1 or 2 drinks and no instances of binge drinking. The association of drinking quantity and the criteria of MetS was stronger for men with high blood pressure and abdominal obesity, whereas it was stronger for women with high glucose. Binge drinking frequency was dose-dependently associated with high TAG, high glucose, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity in men, and with high glucose and high blood pressure in women. Interestingly, average drinking frequency was not associated with the prevalence of MetS in either sex.
Higher drinking quantity and frequent binge drinking are indicators of a higher prevalence of MetS, and the association strength is thought to be gender-specific.
To investigate the ability of each metabolic syndrome (MetS) criterion, defined by the International Diabetes Federation, to predict insulin resistance (IR).
A cross-sectional study. IR was defined as homeostasis model assessment of IR (HOMA-IR) ≥3·04. The MetS criteria considered were TAG ≥ 1·69 mmol/l, HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) <1·29 mmol/l, blood pressure (BP) ≥130/85 mmHg and fasting glucose (FG) ≥5·6 mmol/l.
Busan, South Korea.
Ninety-six apparently healthy Korean women (mean age 42 (sd 10·6) years) with abdominal obesity (waist circumference (WC) ≥80 cm) were studied.
Of the ninety-six obese women, 11 % were insulin-resistant and 33 % fulfilled the criteria for IDF-defined MetS. Glucose and TAG were more likely to predict IR than BP and HDL-C when assessed using receiver-operating characteristic curves, multiple regression and multiple logistic regression analyses. Of the variation in HOMA-IR, TAG, FG, WC and age explained 42 %. High FG was independently associated with the presence of IR (OR = 8·6, 95 % CI 1·8, 41·8) even after adjusting for other components of MetS. The positive predictive value and positive likelihood ratio to detect IR were the highest for the FG criterion (33 % and 3·9, respectively), followed by TAG (28 %, 3·0), BP (19 %, 1·8) and HDL-C criteria (18 %, 1·7). The IDF definition of MetS exhibited a positive predictive value of 29 % and a positive likelihood ratio of 3·1.
Of the MetS criteria, high FG and high TAG seem to be more suitable for identifying obese women with IR than high BP and low HDL-C.
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