Genetic basis of variation in carotid artery wall thickness

Ravindranath Duggirala, Clicerio González Villalpando, Daniel H. O'Leary, Michael P. Stern, John Blangero

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    99 Scopus citations


    Background and Purpose: Other than the documented associations of risk factors and carotid artery wall thickness, the genetic basis of variation in carotid artery intimal-medial thickness (IMT) is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which variation in common carotid artery (CCA) IMT and internal carotid artery (ICA) IMT are under genetic control. Methods: The sibship data used for this analysis were part of an epidemiological survey in Mexico City. The CCA and ICA analyses were based on 46 and 44 sibships of various sizes, respectively. The CCa and ICA IMTs were measured with carotid ultrasonography. Using a robust variance decomposition method, we performed genetic analyses of CCA IMT and ICA IMT measurements with models incorporating several cardiovascular risk factors (eg, lipids, diabetes, blood pressure, and smoking) as covariates. REsults: after accounting for the effects of covariates, we detected high heritabilities for CCA IMT (h2=0.92±0.05, P=.001) and ICA IMT (h2=0.86±0.13, P=0.29). Genes accounted for 66.0% of the total variation in CCA IMT, whereas 27,7% of variation was attributable to covariates. For ICA IMT, genes explained a high proportion (74.9%) of total phenotypic variation. The covariates accounted for 11.%% of variation in ICA IMT. Conclusions: Our results suggest that substantial proportions of phenotypic variance in CCa IMT and ICA IMT are attributable to share genetic factors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)833-837
    Number of pages5
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 1996


    • carotid arteries
    • genetics
    • ultrasonics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology
    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
    • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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