Evidence for genetic factors underlying the insulin resistance syndrome in American Indians

Kari E. North, Ken Williams, Jeff T. Williams, Lyle G. Best, E. Elisa Lee, Richard R. Fabsitz, Barbara V. Howard, R. Stuart Gray, Jean W. MacCluer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Previous analyses of American Indians of the Strong Heart Study have demonstrated that various insulin-resistance variables cluster, although knowledge about the genetic determination of these clusters is unknown. In an effort to explore the influences on the aggregation of insulin-resistance phenotypes, we used principal component factor analysis to examine the clustering of these phenotypes in participants of the Strong Heart Family Study and evaluated the genetic and environmental contributions of such factors. Nine traits were chosen for principal component factor analysis: BMI, diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, natural log-transformed insulin, natural log-transformed triglycerides, percentage of body fat, systolic blood pressure, and waist-to-hip ratio. Analyses revealed three clusters: glucose/insulin/ obesity, blood pressure, and dyslipidemia factors. Using a variance component approach and accounting for the effects of age, sex, center, and medication, we detected significant heritabilities (h 2) for the three factors: h2 = 0.67, h2 = 0.33, and h2 = 0.61, respectively. In multivariate analysis, no significant genetic correlations among factors were found. These results suggest that heredity explains a substantial proportion of the variability of the factors that underlie the insulin resistance syndrome in American Indians and that these factors are genetically independent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1448
Number of pages5
JournalObesity Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • American Indians
  • Genetic factors
  • Insulin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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