Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Horm Behav. 2012 Jun;62(1):36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.04.014. Epub 2012 Apr 28.

Genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in cortisol level and circadian rhythm in middle childhood.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology & Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA. cavanhulle@wisc.edu

Abstract

Individuals differ widely in cortisol output over the day, but the etiology of these individual differences remains poorly understood. Twin studies are useful for quantifying genetic and environmental influences on the variation in cortisol output, lending insight into underlying influences on the components of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. Salivary cortisol was assayed on 446 twin pairs (157 monozygotic, 289 dizygotic; ages 7-8). Parents helped youth collect saliva 30 min after waking, mid-afternoon, and 30 min prior to bedtime across 3 consecutive days. We used hierarchical linear modeling to extract predicted cortisol levels and to distinguish cortisol's diurnal rhythm using a slopes-as-outcome piecewise growth curve model; two slopes captured the morning-to-afternoon and afternoon-to-evening rhythm, respectively. Separate genetic models were then fit to cortisol level at waking, mid-afternoon, and evening as well as the diurnal rhythm across morning-to-afternoon and afternoon-to-evening hours. Three results from these analyses are striking. First, morning-to-afternoon cortisol level showed the highest additive genetic variance (heritability), consistent with prior research. Second, cortisol's diurnal rhythm had an additive genetic component, particularly across the morning-to-afternoon hours. In contrast, additive genetic variation did not significantly contribute to variation in afternoon-to-evening slope. Third, the majority of variance in cortisol concentration was associated with shared family environments. In summary, both genetic and environmental factors influence cortisol's circadian rhythm, and they do so differentially across the day.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

PMID:
22583671
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3377812
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (2)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk