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J Hum Hypertens. 2002 Jun;16(6):417-22.

Heritability of plasma renin activity and plasma concentration of angiotensinogen and angiotensin-converting enzyme.

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Hypertension and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Molecular and Cardiovascular Research, University of Leuven, Belgium.


The purpose of the present investigation was to describe the relative impact of genes and environment on the variance of the plasma constituents of the renin angiotensin system. We ascertained 56 male and 80 female adult same-sex twin pairs from the Flemish population. Plasma renin activity (PRA), the concentration of angiotensinogen (AGT) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) were measured, and path analysis was applied, after transformation toward normality. For PRA and AGT significant heritability was only detected in the male subgroup, with heritability estimates of 66% and 90%, respectively. Angiotensin-converting enzyme concentration was determined by additive genes for 43% of its variance, by shared environmental influences for 42%, and by specific environmental influences for 15%. The high heritability found for AGT is compatible with the results of earlier studies linking the M235T polymorphism of the angiotensinogen gene to plasma AGT levels. For PRA, we are the first to show significant heritability. Our results regarding ACE confirm the findings in other populations.

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