The heritability of CHD mortality in danish twins after controlling for smoking and BMI

Twin Res Hum Genet. 2005 Feb;8(1):53-9. doi: 10.1375/1832427053435328.


Cause-specific mortality data on Danish monozygotic and dizygotic twins are used to analyze heritability estimates of susceptibility to coronary heart disease (CHD) after controlling for smoking and Body Mass Index (BMI). The sample includes 1209 like-sexed twin pairs born between 1890 and 1920, where both individuals were still alive in 1966. The participants completed a questionnaire in 1966 which included questions on smoking, height and weight. The analysis was conducted with both sexes pooled due to the relatively small number of twin pairs. Follow-up was conducted from January 1, 1966 to December 31, 1993. The correlated gammafrailty model with observed covariates was used for the genetic analysis of frailty to account for censoring and truncation in the lifetime data. During the follow-up, 1437 deaths occurred, including 435 deaths due to CHD. Proportions of variance of frailty attributable to genetic and environmental factors were analyzed using the structural equation model approach. Different standard biometric models are fitted to the data to evaluate the magnitude and nature of genetic and environmental factors on mortality. Using the best-fitting model without covariates, heritability of frailty to CHD was found to be 0.45 (0.11). This result changes only slightly to 0.55 (0.13) in a DE model after controlling for smoking and BMI. This analysis underlines the existence of a substantial genetic influence on individual frailty associated with mortality caused by CHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Coronary Disease / genetics*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking