White matter hyperintensities and vascular risk factors in monozygotic twins

Mara ten Kate*, Carole H. Sudre, Anouk den Braber, Elles Konijnenberg, Michel G. Nivard, M. Jorge Cardoso, Philip Scheltens, Sebastien Ourselin, Dorret I. Boomsma, Frederik Barkhof, Pieter Jelle Visser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) have been associated with vascular risk factors, both of which are under genetic influence. We examined in a monozygotic twin sample whether the association between vascular risk and WMHs is influenced by overlapping genetic factors. We included 195 cognitively normal monozygotic twins (age = 70 + 7 years), including 94 complete pairs. Regional WMH load was estimated using an automated algorithm. Vascular risk was summarized with the Framingham score. The within-twin pair correlation for total WMHs was 0.76 and for Framingham score was 0.77. Within participants, Framingham score was associated with total and periventricular WMHs (r = 0.32). Framingham score in 1 twin was also associated with total WMHs in the co-twin (r = 0.26). Up to 83% of the relation between both traits could be explained by shared genetic effects. In conclusion, monozygotic twins have highly similar vascular risk and WMH burden, confirming a genetic background for these traits. The association between both traits is largely driven by overlapping genetic factors. (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume66
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • White matter hyperintensities
  • Vascular risk factors
  • Monozygotic twins
  • SMALL VESSEL DISEASE
  • BLOOD-PRESSURE
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • ENVIRONMENTAL-INFLUENCES
  • CARDIOVASCULAR-DISEASE
  • METABOLIC SYNDROME
  • GENETIC INFLUENCE
  • HERITABILITY
  • LESIONS
  • MRI

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