Lung function in Indian twin children: comparison of genetic versus environmental influence

Ann Hum Biol. Jul-Aug 1995;22(4):289-303. doi: 10.1080/03014469500003962.


The relative contributions of genetic and environmental components in the variability of lung function measurements were studied in 54 twin pairs. Thirty pairs of monozygote (MZ) twins and 24 pairs of dizygotic (DZ) twins were examined. All measurements were made with 9-litre closed-circuit-type expirographs using standard spirometric techniques, except for peak expiratory flow rate (PFER) which was recorded with a Wright peak flow meter. Within-pair variances for inspiratory capacity (IC), vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced mid-expiratory flow (FEV25-75%), forced end-expiratory flow (FEF75-85%), maximum expiratory flow (FEF200-1200ml), forced maximum voluntary ventilation MVVF) and PEFR were significantly smaller (p < 0.01) in MZ twins than in DZ twins. Tidal volume (VT), inspiratory reserve volume (IRV), expiratory reserve volume (ERV), forced expiratory volume in 1 second as a percentage of forced vital capacity (FEV1%), and forced expiratory time (FET) were not significantly different. Within-pair correlations were all higher in MZ than DZ twins. All measurements except for VT and PEFR showed high levels of heritability (23-99%). All measurements were positively and significantly correlated with physical characteristics such as weight, standing height, surface area, arm-span, chest circumference and age, except FEV1% and FET. Residual values adjusted for physical characteristics showed similar results to unadjusted values in most cases. These data indicate that major lung function measurements are possibly influenced more by genetic than environmental factors. Genetically influenced measurements show higher levels of heritability estimates and suggest that genetic determination of lung function is possibly independent of the influence of physical characteristics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / genetics*
  • Total Lung Capacity / genetics*
  • Twins, Dizygotic*
  • Twins, Monozygotic*