Comparison of Peripheral Chemoreceptor Responses in Monozygotic and Dizygotic Twin Infants

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The peripheral chemoresponses of infant twin pairs were determined using a single-breath hyperoxic stimulus. A total of 43 twin pairs of comparable gestation and birth weight were studied during sleep at a mean (SD) age of 8 wk (1.4) while alternately breathing either air or 16% oxygen in nitrogen. Infants responded to a single breath of 100% oxygen by a reduction in ventilation; the mean (SEM) reduction in air was 273 ml/min (10.6) and in 16% oxygen 560 ml/min (18.4). Within-pair variances were compared in 14 monozygotic and 28 dizygotic pairs utilizing combined responses (air + 16% oxygen) computed for measurements made in behavioral quiet sleep and in 9 monozygotic and 20 dizygotic pairs for whom data were complete in polygraphically confirmed quiet sleep. The variance of responses within dizygotic twin pairs was greater than in monozygotic pairs when expressed in ml/min: F ratio 4.11 (p = 0.005) for all data and F ratio 7.67 (p = 0.003) in quiet sleep. Expressed in ml/min/kg the difference was less significant: F ratio 1.83 (p = 0.126) for all data and F ratio 3.46 (p = 0.039) in quiet sleep. Gender, birth weight, and birth order had no effect on these findings. This closer similarity of response in monozygotic twin pairs is explained by proposing a high degree of heritability for the response.

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