Assessment of genetic and nongenetic influences on pulmonary function. A twin study

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1987 Jan;135(1):217-22. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1987.135.1.217.


To better understand the extent to which familial similarities in pulmonary function (PF) are attributable to genetic rather than to shared environmental influences, we studied the twinship aggregation of PF in 256 monozygotic (MZ) and 158 dizygotic (DZ) adult twin members of the Greater Boston Twin Registry. Genetic influences on various spirometric measures were estimated with twinship intrapair correlations adjusted using a regression model to control for similarities in the anthropomorphic characteristics of twins, and for the effects of a number of environmental factors that included childhood respiratory illness, occupational dust exposure, and smoking history. A significant influence of smoking on all air-flow measures was observed in this population for whom genetic similarities were adjusted. However, highly significant adjusted intrapair correlations for all spirometric measures, ranging from 0.52 to 0.76, were observed for the MZ twins. The intrapair correlations for the DZ twins were approximately one-half the magnitude of those for the MZ twins. These data suggest that a large proportion of the measured variability in PF may be accounted for by genetic influences other than those associated with body size.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Twins*
  • Twins, Dizygotic*
  • Twins, Monozygotic*