Although the phenotypic correlation between systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is well known, the genetic basis for the correlation has rarely been investigated. The aim of this paper is to examine the genetic overlap between SBP and DBP by fitting bivariate models to Danish and Chinese twins and comparing ethnic differences between the two samples. Our estimates revealed a high proportion of additive genetic components shared by both SBP and DBP in Danish (0.71, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.65-0.75) and Chinese (0.62, 95% CI: 0.50-0.71) twins with no statistically significant ethnic differences. The estimated genetic component in phenotypic correlation could serve to guide molecular genetic studies searching for genetic variants that affect both SBP and DBP. The bivariate model also estimated genetic and environmental contributions to SBP and DBP separately, with an overall pattern of higher genetic regulation or heritability in Danish (0.72, 95% CI: 0.67-0.76 for SBP; 0.70, 95% CI: 0.65-0.75 for DBP) than in Chinese (0.54, 95% CI: 0.44-0.63 for SBP; 0.57, 95% CI: 0.47-0.65 for DBP) twins and a higher contribution from unique environmental factors in Chinese compared with Danish twins. The estimated contribution from unique environmental factors suggests that promoting healthy lifestyles may provide an efficient way of controlling high blood pressure, particularly in the Chinese population.Hypertension Research advance online publication, 15 May 2014; doi:10.1038/hr.2014.95.
Hypertension Research, 2014, Vol 37, Issue 10, p. 954-9