Cardiovascular risk factors in a French-Canadian population: Resolution of genetic and familial environmental effects on blood pressure by using extensive information on environmental correlates

L. Perusse, T. Rice, C. Bouchard, G. P. Vogler, D. C. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genetic and environmental influences on systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and mean arterial blood pressure (MBP) were examined in 371 French-Canadian families by using path analysis. Familial environment was estimated with environmental indices constructed from as many as 14 (of a pool of more than 100) correlates of blood pressure (BP). Approximately 20% of the variance in BP can be accounted for by the composite index, and the types of variables and the direction of their effects vary as a function of age and of the multivariate context. Path analysis of the family data suggests that genetic heritability is relatively high in children (from 0.49 for SBP to 0.56 for MBP) but much smaller in adults (from 0.08 for DBP to 0.18 for SBP). The proportion of variability explained by familial environment is estimated to be the same in children and adults and is much higher than reported to date (from 0.30 for SBP to 0.42 for DBP). In addition, sibships share significant nontransmitted environmental effects, and there is no evidence to suggest specific maternal effects in the aggregation of BP. Two unique findings emerge from this study. First, unlike in most earlier studies, we were able to arrive at the same parsimonious model for each of the BP variables. Second, the familial environment accounts for a substantial proportion of the variability in BP, which has been considerably underestimated in earlier studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-251
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Volume45
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

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