Heritability of left ventricular structure and function in Caucasian families

Yu Jin, Tatiana Kuznetsova, Murielle Bochud, Tom Richart, Lutgarde Thijs, Daniele Cusi, Robert Fagard, Jan A. Staessen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aims The aim of this study was to investigate the heritability as well as genetic and environmental correlations of left ventricular (LV) structural and functional traits in complex pedigrees of a Caucasian population. Methods and results We randomly recruited 459 white European subjects from 52 families (50% women; mean age 45 years). LV structure was measured by M-mode and 2D echocardiography and LV function was measured by conventional Doppler and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI). Other measurements included blood pressure, anthropometric, and biochemical measurements. We estimated the heritability of LV traits while adjusting for covariables, including sex, age, body height and weight, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and heart rate. With full adjustment, heritability of LV mass was 0.23 (P = 0.025). The TDI-derived mitral annular velocities Ea and Aa showed moderate heritability (h(2) = 0.36 and 0.53, respectively), whereas the mitral inflow A peak had weak heritability (h(2) = 0.25) and the E peak was not heritable (h(2) = 0.11). We partitioned the total phenotypic correlation when it reached significance, into a genetic and an environmental component. The genetic correlations were 0.61 between the E and Ea peaks and 0.90 between the A and Aa peaks. Conclusion Our study demonstrated moderate heritability for LV mass as well as the mitral annular Ea and Aa peaks. We also found significant genetic correlations between the E and Ea peaks and between the A and Aa peaks. Our current findings support the ongoing research to map and detect genetic variants that contribute to the variation in LV mass and other LV structural and functional phenotypes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-332
JournalEuropean journal of echocardiography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Echocardiography
  • Heritability
  • Left ventricular phenotypes
  • Population science

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