Categories of deltaF508 homozygous cystic fibrosis twin and sibling pairs with distinct phenotypic characteristics

Twin Res. 2000 Dec;3(4):277-93. doi: 10.1375/136905200320565256.


Cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common severe autosomal recessive trait among Caucasians, is caused by molecular lesions in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene (CFTR). The course of the multi-organ disease CF is highly variable, suggesting the influence of environmental factors and/or modulating genes other than CFTR on the disease phenotype. To evaluate the cause of CF disease variability, the European CF Twin and Sibling Study collected data on two clinical parameters most sensitive for the course and prognosis of CF, ie weight predicted for height (wfh)% (representative for the nutritional status) and FEVPerc (representative for the pulmonary status) for a cohort of 277 sibling pairs, 12 pairs of dizygous twins and 29 pairs of monozygous twins. Of these 318 CF twin and sib pairs, 114 were reported to be homozygous for the most frequent CF disease-causing lesion, deltaF508. Intra-pair discordance was assessed by the intra-pair differences with wfh% and FEVPerc and by DELTA, a composite parameter defined by linear combination of wfh% and FEVPerc in order to describe discordance with respect to the overall disease severity. Monozygous twins had a significantly lower DELTA than dizygous twins (P = 0.05) indicating that CF disease severity is modulated by an inherited component in addition to the CFTR gene itself. Extreme phenotypes are considered to be more informative for the analysis of any quantitative trait. Thus, we aimed to quantify disease severity and intra-pair discordance in order to select pairs with the extreme phenotypes DIS (discordant patient pairs), CON+ (concordant and mildy affected patient pairs) and CON- (concordant and severely affected patient pairs). The algorithm reliably discriminated between pairs DIS, CON+ and CON- among the cohort of deltaF508 homozygotes. The selected pairs from these categories demonstrated non-overlapping properties for wfh%, FEVPerc and the intra-pair difference of both parameters.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / classification
  • Cystic Fibrosis / etiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics*
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics*
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Environment*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Genes, Recessive / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nutritional Status
  • Phenotype
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*


  • CFTR protein, human
  • cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator delta F508
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator