Cross-trait familial resemblance for body fat and blood pressure: Familial correlations in the Quebec family study

T. Rice, M. Province, L. Perusse, C. Bouchard, D. C. Rao

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Abstract

Cross-trait resemblance between body fat and blood pressure (BP) was examined among families in the Quebec Family Study by using a bivariate familial correlation model assessing both intraindividual (e.g., comparison of father's body fat with his own BP) and interindividual (e.g., comparison of father's body fat with son's BP) cross-trait correlations. Each of six body-fat measures-(i) percent body fat, (ii) body-mass index, (iii) the sum of six skinfolds, (iv) the ratio of the sum of six skinfolds to total fat mass, (v) the ratio of the trunk skinfold sum to the extremity skinfold sum, and (vi) the regression of the trunk-extremity skinfold ratio on the sum of six skinfolds-was analyzed separately with systolic BP and with diastolic BP. Results showed that (1) upper-body fat was the strongest interindividual correlate of BP (especially the correlation of trunk-extremity ratio with diastolic BP), suggesting shared pleiotropic genetic and/or common familial environmental effects; (2) summary body-fat measures either were inconsistent (in the case of both percent body fat and sum of six skinfolds) or gave no evidence of interindividual cross-trait resemblance with BP (in the case of body-mass index); and (3) intraindividual resemblance between the sum of six skinfolds and BP largely vanished once the skinfold sum was adjusted for fat mass, suggesting that the intraindividual association may be mediated largely by the absolute amount of subcutaneous fat rather than by the subcutaneous proportion. Finally, the magnitude of the spouse resemblance for the trunk- extremity ratio with diastolic BP suggests that a significant proportion of the resemblance may be due to environmental influences. In summary, our investigation confirms a heritable link between BP and truncal-abdominal fat as predicted by the metabolic-syndrome hypothesis. That this result is obtained in primarily normotensive, nonobese families, suggests the connection involves normal metabolic paths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1029
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Volume55
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

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