Prior studies indicate that cardiovascular disease risk factors can be hereditary. This study measures the heritability of various risk factors in a different fashion.
The Framingham Heart Study was the source of data for this statistical analysis. Clinical examination and laboratory data for the three generations of the cohort were obtained from the Framingham study personnel.
We made trans-generational comparisons with respect to cardiovascular disease risk factors. Risk factors included: body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, fasting total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and fasting HbA1c.
We used multiple regression models to look for significant heritability of risk factors. The models adjusted for the age difference between ancestors and descendants as a confounder. These models were also stratified by ancestor and descendant sex.
The majority of strata analyzed show heritability for parent with child comparisons of the included risk factors. Significant heritability of risk factors ranged from 4% to 23%, raw p-values from <0.0001 to <0.014, FDR-adjusted p-values from <0.0002 to <0.038, and powers from 74.6% to >99.9%.
Conversely, the majority of the strata were not significant for heritability in the grandparent with grandchild comparisons. Significant heritability of risk factors ranged from 6% to 13%, raw p-values from <0.0001 to <0.025, FDR-adjusted p-values from <0.0002 to <0.036, and powers from 75.6% to 99.3%.
We were unable to detect a consistent ancestor sex-specific pattern of heritability. Instead, the parent to child heritability was consistently significant on all stratified models for body mass index, blood pressures, and total cholesterol.