Elevated plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and fibrinogen concentrations are risk factors for coronary heart disease. We investigated environmental, familial, and genetic influences on PAI-1 antigen and fibrinogen concentrations in 2029 adults from 512 randomly ascertained families in 4 US commununities. We used maximumlikelihood segregation analysis to fit several genetic and nongenetic modes of inheritance to the data to determine whether mendelian inheritance of a major gene could best explain the familial distributions of these 2 hemostatic factors. Age- and gender-adjusted familial correlations for PAI-1 antigen level averaged 0.16 in first-degree relatives (95% CI=0.11 to 0.21); the spouse correlation was positive but not statistically significant (r=0.10, 95% CI = -0.02 to 0.23). Complex segregation analysis indicated a major gene associated with higher PAI-1 concentrations in 65% of individuals from these families. Demographic, anthropometric, lifestyle, and metabolic characteristics together explained 37% to 47% of the variation in PAI-1 antigen levels, and the inferred major gene explained an additional 17% of the variance. Positive and statistically significant age- and gender-adjusted familial correlations in first-degree relatives indicated a possible heritable component influencing plasma fibrinogen concentration (r=0.17, 95% CI=0.13 to 0.22); however, segregation analysis did not provide statistical evidence of a major gene controlling fibrinogen level. These family data suggest that there are modest familial and genetic effects on the concentration of PAI-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-1567
Number of pages9
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1998


  • Fibrinogen
  • Heritability
  • Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1
  • Segregation analysis


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