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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 Mar;66(3):588-92.

Hereditary and environmental influences on the variation of thyroid hormones in normal male twins.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132.


Heritability of the variation of the plasma total and unbound T4 (free T4), T3, T4-binding globulin (TBG), and TSH concentrations was investigated in 15 monozygotic and 15 dizygotic male twin pairs. The variability in plasma of total (58%) and free T4 (72%) concentrations was significantly less (P less than 0.01) in the twin pairs than in unrelated men. Half of the variability of T3 (P less than 0.05), TBG (P less than 0.05), and TSH (P less than 0.05) was affected by influences shared by the twin pairs in both monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs. The heritability index for variability of the plasma total T4 and free T4 was greater than 28% (P less than 0.05), and it was 25% or less for T3 and TBG. Variation in TBG accounted for less than 20% (P less than 0.001) of the variation in thyroid hormone concentrations. The results indicate that familial factors, which are affected by genetic and/or environmental factors, influence the variation of plasma TBG, TSH, T4, free T4, and T3 concentrations among normal men. Genetic factors influenced the variation in plasma T4 and free T4 levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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