Heritability of ambulatory and office blood pressure in the Swiss population

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Background:Blood pressure (BP) is known to aggregate in families. Yet, heritability estimates are population-specific and no Swiss data have been published so far. We estimated the heritability of ambulatory and office BP in a Swiss population-based sample.Methods:The Swiss Kidney Project on Genes in Hypertension is a population-based family study focusing on BP genetics. Office and ambulatory BP were measured in 1009 individuals from 271 nuclear families. Heritability was estimated for SBP, DBP, and pulse pressure using a maximum likelihood method implanted in the Statistical Analysis in Genetic Epidemiology software.Results:The 518 women and 491 men included in this analysis had a mean (±SD) age of 48.3 (±17.4) and 47.3 (±17.7) years, and a mean BMI of 23.8 (±4.2) and 25.9 (±4.1) kg/m2, respectively. Narrow-sense heritability estimates (±standard error) for ambulatory SBP, DBP, and pulse pressure were 0.37 ± 0.07, 0.26 ± 0.07, and 0.29 ± 0.07 for 24-h BP; 0.39 ± 0.07, 0.28 ± 0.07, and 0.27 ± 0.07 for day BP; and 0.25 ± 0.07, 0.20 ± 0.07, and 0.30 ± 0.07 for night BP, respectively (all P < 0.001). Heritability estimates for office SBP, DBP, and pulse pressure were 0.21 ± 0.08, 0.25 ± 0.08, and 0.18 ± 0.07 (all P < 0.01).Conclusions:We found significant heritability estimates for both ambulatory and office BP in this Swiss population-based study. Our findings justify the ongoing search for the genetic determinants of BP.

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