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Arterioscler Thromb. 1993 May;13(5):687-95.

Genetics of LDL subclass phenotypes in women twins. Concordance, heritability, and commingling analysis.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


Low density lipoprotein (LDL) subclass phenotype B, characterized by a predominance of small LDL as determined by gradient gel electrophoresis, has been associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile. Previous studies employing complex segregation analysis have demonstrated a major, single gene effect on the inheritance of this phenotype in families. Recently, linkage between this phenotype and variation at the LDL receptor locus on chromosome 19 has been reported. However, variation in LDL subclass phenotypes has also been associated with age, gender, diabetes status, beta-blocker medication, and diet. The present study further evaluates the relative importance of genetic and nongenetic influences on LDL subclass phenotypes and on LDL peak particle diameter (as a reflection of the size of the major LDL subclass) in monozygotic and dizygotic women twin pairs. The analysis is based on 203 monozygotic and 145 dizygotic pairs of adult female twins who participated in the second examination of the Kaiser Permanente Women Twins Study. The average age was 51 years at this exam and 90% were white. Concordance analysis revealed that monozygotic cotwins shared LDL subclass phenotypes more frequently than dizygotic cotwins, and this was confirmed using logistic regression analysis after controlling for potential confounding factors. Heritability analyses suggested that approximately one third to one half of the variation in LDL peak particle diameter, a continuous variable reflecting LDL size, could be attributed to genetic influences. Commingling analysis of the frequency distribution of LDL peak particle diameter identified three distinct subgroups of subjects, one of which corresponded to those subjects with LDL subclass phenotype B.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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