The aggregation of lipids [total cholesterol (CH) and triglyceride (TG)] and lipoproteins [high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)] in families ascertained through random and nonrandom probands in the Iowa Lipid Research Clinics family study was examined. Nonrandom probands were selected because their lipid levels (at a prior screening visit) exceeded a certain pre-specified threshold. The statistical method conditions the likelihood function on the actual event that the proband’s value is beyond the threshold. This method allows for estimation of the path model parameters in randomly and nonrandomly ascertained families jointly and separately, thus enabling tests of heterogeneity between the two types of samples. Marked heterogeneity between the random and the hyperlipidemic samples is detected in the multifactorial transmission forTG and HDL, and moderate heterogeneity is detected for CH and LDL, with a pattern of higher genetic heritability estimates in the random than nonrandom samples. The observed pattern of heterogeneity is compatible with a higher prevalence in the random sample of certain dyslipoproteinemias that are associated with nonelevated lipids. For the random samples, genetic heritabilities are higher for CH and HDL (about 60%) than for TG and LDL (about 50%). For the nonrandom samples those estimates are about 45, 40, 35 and 30% for HDL, CH, LDL and TG, respectively. Little to no cultural (familial environmental) heritability is evident for CH and LDL, although 10-20% of the phenotypic variance is due to cultural factors for TG and HDL. These results suggest that the etiologies for lipids and lipoproteins may be quite different in random versus hyperlipidemic samples.
- Coronary heart disease