Heritability of recurrent tonsillitis

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 May;131(5):383-7. doi: 10.1001/archotol.131.5.383.


Objective: To estimate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effects on the variance in the liability of recurrent tonsillitis.

Design: Retrospective questionnaire data from a population-based cohort.

Setting: Population-based data from Norway.

Participants: A total of 9479 Norwegian twins born between January 1, 1967, and December 31, 1979, identified through the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Main Outcome Measure Recurrent tonsillitis.

Results: The lifetime prevalence of recurrent tonsillitis was 11.7% (95% confidence interval, 11.0%-12.3%), with a significant predominance of female cases. The tetrachoric correlations for monozygotic twins were 0.71 for males and 0.60 for females. For dizygotic twins, the correlations were 0.12 for males, 0.14 for females, and 0.24 for dizygotic pairs of opposite sex. Structural equation modeling indicated that genetic effects explained 62% of the variation in the liability of recurrent tonsillitis. The remaining variance was attributed to individual environmental effects. There was no evidence of sex-specific genetic effects on the liability of recurrent tonsillitis.

Conclusion: There is evidence for a substantial genetic predisposition for recurrent tonsillitis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonsillitis / epidemiology
  • Tonsillitis / genetics*