Familial clustering for features of the metabolic syndrome: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study

Weihong Tang, Yuling Hong, Michael A. Province, Stephen S. Rich, Paul N. Hopkins, Donna K. Arnett, James S. Pankow, Michael B. Miller, John H. Eckfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Metabolic syndrome-related traits (obesity, glucose intolerance/insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hypertension) have been shown to be genetically correlated. It is less clear, however, if the genetic correlation extends to novel risk factors associated with inflammation, impaired fibrinolytic activity, and hyperuricemia. We present a bivariate genetic analysis of MetS-related traits including both traditional and novel risk factors. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - Genetic correlations were estimated using a variance components procedure in 1,940 nondiabetic white individuals from 445 families in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study. Twelve MetS-related traits, including BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, white blood cell count, fasting serum triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, insulin, glucose, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen, uric acid, and C-reactive protein, were measured and adjusted for covariates, including lifestyle variables. RESULTS - Significant genetic correlations were detected among BMI, waist circumference, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen and between uric acid and all of the above variables except insulin. C-reactive protein and white blood cell count were genetically correlated with each other, and both showed significant genetic correlations with waist circumference and insulin. Fasting glucose was not significantly genetically correlated with any of the other traits. CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that pleiotropic effects of genes or shared family environment contribute to the familial clustering of MetS-related traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-636
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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