Elevated pulse pressure is associated with cardiovascular disorders and mortality in various populations. The genetic influence on pulse pressure has been confirmed by heritability estimates using related individuals. Recently, efforts have been made in mapping genes that are linked to the phenotype. We report results on our heritability and linkage study conducted on the Chinese population in mainland China where cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases are becoming the leading cause of death. A total of 630 pairs of middle-aged Chinese twins were collected for heritability analysis, from which 63 dizygotic twin pairs were randomly selected for genome-wide linkage analysis using Affymetrix 6.0 SNP array. Regression analysis reconfirmed the significant effects of age, sex, and BMI on pulse pressure. Comparison of twin models suggested the parsimonious AE model as the best model with a heritability estimate of 0.45. Genome-wide non-parametric linkage analysis identified three significant linkage peaks on chromosome 11 (lod score 4.06 at 30.5 cM), chromosome 12 (lod score 3.97 at 100.7 cM), and chromosome 18 (lod score 4.01 at 70.7 cM) with the last two peaks closely overlapping with linkage peaks reported by two American studies. In addition, multiple regions with suggestive linkage were identified with many of them overlapping with published linkage regions. Our results provide both epidemiological and molecular genetic evidence for the genetic dissection of pulse pressure in the Chinese population, which could help in fine mapping and in characterizing genes that are involved in the regulation of pulse pressure.
Twin Research and Human Genetics, 2012, Vol 15, Issue 6, p. 759-766