Both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the etiology of obesity and the associated lipid disturbances. We determined whether acquired obesity is associated with changes in global serum lipid profiles independent of genetic factors in young adult monozygotic (MZ) twins. 14 healthy MZ pairs discordant for obesity (10 to 25 kg weight difference) and ten weight concordant control pairs aged 24-27 years were identified from a large population-based study. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by the euglycemic clamp technique, and body composition by DEXA (% body fat) and by MRI (subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat). Global characterization of lipid molecular species in serum was performed by a lipidomics strategy using liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Obesity, independent of genetic influences, was primarily related to increases in lysophosphatidylcholines, lipids found in proinflammatory and proatherogenic conditions and to decreases in ether phospholipids, which are known to have antioxidant properties. These lipid changes were associated with insulin resistance, a pathogonomic characteristic of acquired obesity in these young adult twins. Our results show that obesity, already in its early stages and independent of genetic influences, is associated with deleterious alterations in the lipid metabolism known to facilitate atherogenesis, inflammation and insulin resistance.
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The ages of onset in multiple sclerosis cases span more than 7 decades. Data are presented for affected relative pairs from a Canadian population base of 30,000 multiple sclerosis index cases (1993-2008). The effects of genetic sharing, parent of origin, intergenerational versus collinear differences, and gender on the ages of onset were evaluated in the following concordant pairs: monozygotic twins (n = 29), dizygotic twins (n = 10), siblings (n = 614), first cousins (n = 405), half siblings (n = 29), parent/child (n = 285), and aunt/uncle/niece/nephew (avunculars) (n = 289). Fisher's z test assessed intraclass correlation (r) for ages of onset. Correlations for monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins, full siblings, and first cousins were 0.60, 0.54, 0.20, and 0.10, respectively. Dizygotic twins resembled monozygotic twins more than siblings. The age-of-onset correlation for maternal half siblings (r = 0.37) was higher than that for paternal half siblings (r = 0.26), consistent with other observations suggesting an intrauterine environmental effect on multiple sclerosis risk. Intergenerational comparisons are complicated by substantial increases of multiple sclerosis incidence over time. Genetic loading (familial vs. sporadic cases) did not generally influence the age of onset, but correlation of age of onset in multiple sclerosis relative pairs was proportional to genetic sharing. A maternal parent-of-origin effect on the age of onset in collinear generations was suggested.
PURPOSE: To examine the importance of genetic factors in age-related macular degeneration by using a twin study to compare the concordance of age-related macular degeneration in monozygotic twin pairs and their spouses. METHODS: This was a prospective study that included 50 twin pairs and 47 spouses. Zygosity was determined by genetic laboratory testing. Macular findings were graded based on the grading system used by the Macular Photocoagulation Study Group and the International ARM Epidemiological Study Group. RESULTS: The concordance of age-related macular degeneration was 90% in monozygotic twin pairs which significantly exceeded that of twin/spouse pairs (70.2%); p=0.0279. In the nine pairs that were concordant, fundus appearance and visual impairment were similar. Environmental factors and medical history were essentially the same in the twin pairs. CONCLUSION: The statistically significant higher concordance of age-related macular degeneration in monozygotic twins compared to their spouses strongly suggests the importance of genetic factors.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of genetic and environment influences and sex on injury involvement using two sets of Finnish twin data. The younger participants were 955 twins born between 1983 and 1987, aged 20 to 24 years. The older participants were 12,428 twins born between 1930 and 1957, aged 33 to 60 years. Within-twin correlations in monozygotic and dizygotic twins suggested that genetic effects play no role in injury involvement among young twins, but do have some effect at older ages. The results indicated that environmental factors have greater importance in injury involvement than genetic factors in the younger twin data set (FT12), whereas in a middle-aged (33-60 years) twin data set, genetic effects explained about quarter of the variance in injury involvement. Sex was a strong contributing factor, with males being generally more prone to injuries than females.
Previous research suggests that the association between conflictual parent-child relationships and maladjustment among adolescents is influenced by genetic effects emanating from the adolescents. In this study, we examined whether these effects are mediated by childhood aggression. The data come from the Twin study of CHild and Adolescent Development (TCHAD), a Swedish longitudinal study including 1,314 twin pairs followed from age 13-14 to 16-17. Early adolescent aggression, parental criticism, and delinquency in later adolescence were rated by parents and children at different time points. Multivariate genetic structural equation models were used to estimate genetic and environmental influences on these constructs and on their covariation. The results showed that approximately half of the genetic contribution to the association between parental criticism and delinquency was explained by early adolescent aggression. It suggests that aggression in children evokes negative parenting, which in turn influences adolescent antisocial behavior. The mechanism proposed by these findings is consistent with evocative gene-environment correlation.
We tested the association between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and divorce; estimated the genetic and environmental influences on divorce; estimated how much genetic and environmental influences accounted for covariance between AUD and divorce; and estimated latent genetic and environmental correlations between AUD and divorce. We tested sex differences in these effects.
We identified twin and sibling pairs with AUD and divorce information in Swedish national registers. We described the association between AUD and divorce using tetrachorics and used twin and sibling models to estimate genetic and environmental influences on divorce, on the covariance between AUD and divorce and the latent genetic and environmental correlations between AUD and divorce.
A total of 670?836 individuals (53% male) born 1940-1965.
Life-time measures of AUD and divorce.
AUD and divorce were related strongly (males: rtet = +0.44, 95% CI = 0.43, 0.45; females rtet = +0.37, 95% CI = 0.36, 0.38). Genetic factors accounted for a modest proportion of the variance in divorce (males: 21.3%, 95% CI = 7.6, 28.5; females: 31.0%, 95% CI = 18.8, 37.1). Genetic factors accounted for most of the covariance between AUD and divorce (males: 52.0%, 95% CI = 48.8, 67.9; females: 53.74%, 95% CI = 17.6, 54.5), followed by non-shared environmental factors (males: 45.0%, 95% CI = 37.5, 54.9; females: 41.6%, 95% CI = 40.3, 60.2). Shared environmental factors accounted for a negligible proportion of the covariance (males: 3.0%, 95% CI = -3.0, 13.5; females: 4.75%, 95% CI = 0.0, 6.6). The AUD-divorce genetic correlations were high (males: rA = +0.76, 95% CI = 0.53, 0.90; females +0.52, 95% CI = 0.24, 0.67). The non-shared environmental correlations were modest (males: rE = +0.32, 95% CI = 0.31, 0.40; females: +0.27, 95% CI = 0.27, 0.36).
Divorce and alcohol use disorder are correlated strongly in the Swedish population, and the heritability of divorce is consistent with previous studies. Covariation between AUD and divorce results from overlapping genetic and non-shared environmental factors. Latent genetic and non-shared environmental correlations for alcohol use disorder and divorce are high and moderate.
PURPOSE: Benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE) is considered a genetically determined idiopathic partial epilepsy. We analyzed a large sample of twins from four international twin registers to probe the genetics of BRE. We also aim to synthesize the apparently conflicting family and twin data into a model of BRE etiology. METHODS: Large population-based twin registries of epilepsies from Odense (Denmark), Richmond, Virginia (United States), and Oslo (Norway) were reviewed for BRE cases and added to our Australian twin data. Diagnosis of classic BRE was based on electroclinical criteria with normal neurologic development. Cases with a compatible electroclinical picture but abnormal neurologic development were termed non-classic BRE. RESULTS: Eighteen twin pairs were identified (10 monozygous; eight dizygous) of whom at least one twin was diagnosed with classic BRE among a total sample of 1,952 twin pairs validated for seizures, and all were discordant for BRE. The estimated monozygous pairwise concordance for BRE in this sample was 0.0 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.0-0.3). Four twin pairs (one monozygous, three dizygous) had non-classic BRE, and all co-twins had seizures. CONCLUSIONS: The twin data showing an absence of any concordant twin pairs with classic BRE suggest that noninherited factors are of major importance in BRE. Modelling the data shows that the familial occurrence of centrotemporal spikes makes only a minor contribution to the familial aggregation of BRE. Genetic factors are probably more important in non-classic BRE. The etiology and mode(s) of inheritance of BRE are much more complicated than initially conceptualized.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the influence of genetic effects in the aetiology and pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). METHODS: The study comprised one Norwegian and two Danish nationwide twin surveys. In 1994 and 2002, respectively, 37,388 and 46,331 Danish twin individuals were asked by questionnaire if they had AS. Similarly, in 1998, 12,718 Norwegian twins were asked if they had AS using a questionnaire phrased according to the Danish survey. Twins reporting AS were categorized according to the modified New York criteria. RESULTS: A total of 113 twin individuals reported AS, of whom 81 (72.3%) participated in validation of the diagnosis. After validation, 39 probands were diagnosed with AS. Subsequent invitation of co-twins resulted in 27 complete pairs. The point prevalence and the annual incidence of AS was 0.1% and 3/100,000 person-years (pyr) among the Danish twins. The positive predictive value of self-reported AS was 49.3%. Probandwise concordance rates on AS were (2/5) 40% in monozygotic (MZ) and (1/23) 4% in dizygotic (DZ) twins [difference 35% (95% CI 2.9-72.8), p = 0.26]. Heredity analysis including previously published and the present HLA-B27-positive twin pairs indicated that additive genetic effects account for 94% (95% CI 0.56-0.99) of the variance in the causation of AS. CONCLUSION: Self-reported AS needs careful validation. The occurrence of AS in a Danish twin population was 0.1% and accords well with previous studies on singletons in hospital settings. The present study adds to previous evidence of a major genetic effect in the pathogenesis of AS.
Depression and anxiety are highly comorbid due to shared genetic risk factors, but less is known about whether burnout shares these risk factors. We aimed to examine whether the covariation between major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and burnout is explained by common genetic and/or environmental factors. This cross-sectional study included 25,378 Swedish twins responding to a survey in 2005-2006. Structural equation models were used to analyze whether the trait variances and covariances were due to additive genetics, non-additive genetics, shared environment, and unique environment. Univariate analyses tested sex limitation models and multivariate analysis tested Cholesky, independent pathway, and common pathway models. The phenotypic correlations were 0.71 (0.69-0.74) between MDD and GAD, 0.58 (0.56-0.60) between MDD and burnout, and 0.53 (0.50-0.56) between GAD and burnout. Heritabilities were 45% for MDD, 49% for GAD, and 38% for burnout; no statistically significant sex differences were found. A common pathway model was chosen as the final model. The common factor was influenced by genetics (58%) and unique environment (42%), and explained 77% of the variation in MDD, 69% in GAD, and 44% in burnout. GAD and burnout had additive genetic factors unique to the phenotypes (11% each), while MDD did not. Unique environment explained 23% of the variability in MDD, 20% in GAD, and 45% in burnout. In conclusion, the covariation was explained by an underlying common factor, largely influenced by genetics. Burnout was to a large degree influenced by unique environmental factors not shared with MDD and GAD.
BACKGROUND: Assessment of eating disorders at the symptom level can facilitate the refinement of phenotypes. We examined genetic and environmental contributions to liability to anorexia nervosa (AN) symptoms in a population-based twin sample using a genetic common pathway model. METHOD: Participants were from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health Twin Panel (NIPHTP) and included all female monozygotic (MZ; 448 complete pairs and four singletons) and dizygotic (DZ; 263 complete pairs and four singletons) twins who completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) assessing DSM-IV Axis I and ICD-10 criteria. Responses to items assessing AN symptoms were included in a model fitted using the marginal maximum likelihood (MML) approach. RESULTS: Heritability of the overall AN diagnosis was moderate [a2=0.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.0-0.50] whereas heritabilities of the specific items varied. Heritability estimates for weight loss items were moderate (a2=0.31-0.34) and items assessing weight concern when at a low weight were smaller (0.18-0.29). Additive genetic factors contributed little to the variance of amenorrhea, which was most strongly influenced by unshared environment (a2=0.16, e2=0.71). CONCLUSIONS: AN symptoms are differentially heritable. Specific criteria such as those related to body weight and weight loss history represent more biologically driven potential endophenotypes or liability indices. The results regarding weight concern differ somewhat from those of previous studies, highlighting the importance of assessing genetic and environmental influences on variance of traits within specific subgroups of interest.