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Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Mar 1;151(5):452-8.

Contribution of genetic and environmental influences to ankle-brachial blood pressure index in the NHLBI Twin Study. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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Center for Health Sciences, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA.


The ankle-brachial index (ABI) is widely used in the clinical diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease. The contributions of genetic and environmental influences to normal and abnormal ABI values are unknown. In this study, the authors used available data on 94 monozygotic pairs and 90 dizygotic pairs of elderly, White, male twins examined in 1995-1997 to investigate the contributions of genetic and environmental influences to normative ABI values. Within-twin-pair correlations for normative ABI values were statistically significant, and the correlation in monozygotic twin pairs was significantly greater than that in dizygotic pairs. Structural equation modeling of the variance-covariance matrices of monozygotic and dizygotic twins indicated that 48% of the observed variability in ABI values could be attributed to additive genetic effects. In contrast, concordance rates for low ABI values (ABI< or =0.9) for both monozygotic and dizygotic twins were significantly greater than would be expected by chance alone, but within-pair monozygotic similarity was not significantly greater than dizygotic similarity. A matched-cotwin analysis in 21 pairs that were discordant for low ABI values found that twins with low ABI values were physically less active and more likely to be persistent smokers than their normal-control brothers. These findings reinforce the role of individual health practices (e.g., physical activity, smoking) in the manifestation of peripheral arterial disease among subjects matched for age, genetics, and early shared environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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