Heritability of carotid artery distensibility in hispanics: The Northern Manhattan Family Study

Suh Hang Hank Juo, Tanja Rundek, Hsiu Fen Lin, Rong Cheng, Min Yu Lan, Jinaping Sam Huang, Bernadette Boden-Albala, Ralph L. Sacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose - Reduced arterial distensibility has been introduced as a novel risk factor for atherosclerosis. The importance of the genetic contribution to variation in distensibility is largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to estimate heritability of carotid distensibility. Methods - The ongoing Northern Manhattan Family Study recruits high-risk Caribbean Hispanic families to study genetic effects on stroke/cardiovascular risk factors. The distensibility metrics (strain, stiffness, distensibility, and elastic modulus) were measured from the right common carotid artery, and the heritability for each was estimated. Variance component methods were used to estimate age- and sex-adjusted heritability. Correlations were calculated to evaluate the relationship between distensibility phenotypes and intimamedia thickness (IMT) at each carotid segment. Results - The current data included 88 probands and 605 relatives from 88 families. Age- and sex-adjusted heritability was 25% for strain, 17% for distensibility, 20% for stiffness, and 20% for elastic modulus. Without adjustment for covariates, strong correlations were found between distensibility metrics and MT: the absolute values of correlation coefficients were between 0.2 and 0.5, and all P values were <0.001. However, the correlation coefficients were reduced substantially after adjusting for age and sex. Conclusions - These results suggested that genetic factors explained a moderate proportion of the variability of carotid distensibility. The correlations between distensibility and IMT were mainly attributable to age and sex effects. The regulation of carotid distensibility and IMT may reflect different underlying genetic and environmental mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2357-2361
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid arteries
  • Genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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