Evidence for joint action of genes on diabetes status and cvd risk factors in american indians: The strong heart family study

K. E. North, J. T. Williams, T. K. Welty, L. G. Best, E. T. Lee, R. R. Fabsitz, B. V. Howard, J. W. MacCluer

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    20 Scopus citations


    OBJECTIVES: Previous research among American Indians of the strong heart family study (SHFS) has demonstrated significant heritabilities for CVD risk factors and implicated diabetes as an important predictor of several of the phenotypes. Moreover, we recently demonstrated that genetic effects on CVD risk factors differed in diabetic and nondiabetic individuals. In this paper, we investigated whether a significant genetic influence on diabetes status could be identified, and whether there is evidence for joint action of genes on diabetes status and related CVD risk factors. METHODS AND RESULTS: Approximately 950 men and women, age 18 or older, in 32 extended families, were examined between 1997 and 1999. We estimated the effects of genes and environmental covariates on diabetes status using a threshold model and a maximum likelihood variance component approach. Diabetes status exhibited a residual heritability of 22% (h2 = 0.22). We also estimated the genetic and environmental correlations between diabetes susceptibility and eight risk factors for CVD. All eight CVD risk factors displayed significant genetic correlations with diabetes status (BMI (ρG = 0.55), fibrinogen (ρG = 0.40), HDL-C (ρG= -0.37), In triglycerides (ρG = 0.65), FAT (ρG = 0.38), PAI-1 (ρG = 0.67), SBP (ρG = 0.57), and WHR (ρG = 0.58)). Three of eight traits (HDL-C (ρE = -0.32), In triglycerides (ρE = 0.33), and fibrinogen (ρE = 0.20)) displayed significant environmental correlations with diabetes status. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that in the context of a high prevalence of diabetes, still unidentified diabetes genes may play an important role in influencing variation in CVD risk factors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)491-497
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


    • American Indians
    • CVD risk factors
    • Diabetes status
    • Pleiotropy
    • Strong heart family study

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Nutrition and Dietetics


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