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Aging plays a crucial role in the mechanisms of the impacts of genetic and environmental factors on blood pressure and serum lipids. However, to our knowledge, how the influence of genetic and environmental factors on the correlation between blood pressure and serum lipids changes with age remains to be determined. In this study, data from the Chinese National Twin Registry (CNTR) were used. Resting blood pressure, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP), and fasting serum lipids, including total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TGs) were measured in 2378 participants (1189 twin pairs). Univariate and bivariate structural equation models examined the genetic and environmental influences on blood pressure and serum lipids among three age groups. All phenotypes showed moderate to high heritability (0.37–0.59) and moderate unique environmental variance (0.30–0.44). The heritability of all phenotypes showed a decreasing trend with age. Among all phenotypes, SBP and DBP showed a significant monotonic decreasing trend. For phenotype-phenotype pairs, the phenotypic correlation (Rph) of each pair ranged from −0.04 to 0.23, and the additive genetic correlation (Ra) ranged from 0.00 to 0.36. For TC&SBP, TC&DBP, TG&SBP and TGs&DBP, both the Rph and Ra declined with age, and the Ra difference between the young group and the older adult group is statistically significant (p < .05). The unique environmental correlation (Re) of each pair did not follow any pattern with age and remained relatively stable with age. In summary, we observed that the heritability of blood pressure was affected by age. Moreover, blood pressure and serum lipids shared common genetic backgrounds, and age had an impact on the phenotypic correlation and genetic correlations.
It is crucial to understand the genetic mechanisms and biological pathways underlying the relationship between obesity and serum lipid levels. Structural equation models (SEMs) were constructed to calculate heritability for body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and the genetic connections between BMI and the four classes of lipids using 1197 pairs of twins from the Chinese National Twin Registry (CNTR). Bivariate genomewide association studies (GWAS) were performed to identify genetic variants associated with BMI and lipids using the records of 457 individuals, and the results were further validated in 289 individuals. The genetic background affecting BMI may differ by gender, and the heritability of males and females was 71% (95% CI [.66, .75]) and 39% (95% CI [.15, .71]) respectively. BMI was positively correlated with TC, TG and LDL-C in phenotypic and genetic correlation, while negatively correlated with HDL-C. There were gender differences in the correlation between BMI and lipids. Bivariate GWAS analysis and validation stage found 7 genes (LOC105378740, LINC02506, CSMD1, MELK, FAM81A, ERAL1 and MIR144) that were possibly related to BMI and lipid levels. The significant biological pathways were the regulation of cholesterol reverse transport and the regulation of high-density lipoprotein particle clearance (p < .001). BMI and blood lipid levels were affected by genetic factors, and they were genetically correlated. There might be gender differences in their genetic correlation. Bivariate GWAS analysis found MIR144 gene and its related biological pathways may influence obesity and lipid levels.
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