Serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase (SGK1) gene and blood pressure
Busjahn,A.; Aydin,A.; Uhlmann,R.; Krasko,C.; Bahring,S.; Szelestei,T.; Feng,Y.; Dahm,S.; Sharma,A.M.; Luft,F.C.; Lang,F.
Hypertension 2002;40:256-60.

The serum- and glucose-regulated kinase (SGK1) gene has recently been identified as an important aldosterone-induced protein kinase that mediates trafficking of the renal epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC) to the cell membrane. Thus, SGK1 is an appealing candidate for blood pressure regulation and possibly essential hypertension. To test this hypothesis, we recruited monozygotic (126 pairs) and dizygotic (70 pairs) normotensive twin subjects and parents of dizygotic twins. Blood pressure was measured in a controlled fashion: recumbent, sitting, and upright. We documented genetic variance on blood pressure in all positions. We then relied on microsatellite markers at the SGK1 gene locus (D6S472, D6S1038, and D6S270) and 2 single nucleotide polymorphisms within the SGK1 gene. We found significant linkage of the SGK1 gene locus to diastolic blood pressure (P<0.0002) and suggestive evidence for linkage for systolic blood pressure (P<0.04), documenting the locus as a quantitative trait locus for blood pressure. We next performed association, using all dizygotic twins and a monozygotic member from each pair. We found significant associations between both single nucleotide polymorphism variants and blood pressure, as well as a significant interaction between the single nucleotide polymorphisms enhancing the effect. This combined effect of the polymorphisms was confirmed in an independent sample of 260 young normotensive men. We conclude that the SGK1 gene is relevant to blood pressure regulation and probably to hypertension in man.

beta-2 Adrenergic receptor gene variations and coping styles in twins
Busjahn A, Freier K, Faulhaber HD, Li GH, Rosenthal M, Jordan J et al.
Biol.Psychol. 2002;61:97-107

We tested the hypothesis that the beta-2 adrenergic receptor (beta-2 AR) gene locus, with known effects on blood pressure regulation, is also involved in psychological coping styles. 166 pairs of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins and DZ twin parents were investigated. We found common genetic variance for the coping factor Emotional Coping and blood pressure. Using three microsatellites we found linkage between the beta-2 AR gene locus and the coping factor Active Coping. Using allele-specific PCR of all the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene causing amino acid substitutions we identified associations between the +491 G/A SNP and various coping factors. We conclude that the beta-2 AR gene is relevant to coping. These preliminary findings suggest a molecular genetic underpinning of the relationship between psychological and physiological phenotypes important to cardiovascular risk.

Dorret Boomsma, Andreas Busjahn and Leena Peltonen
Nature Reviews Genetics 2002;3:872-882

Twin studies have been a valuable source of information about the genetic basis of complex traits. To maximize the potential of twin studies, large, worldwide registers of data on twins and their relatives have been established. Here, we provide an overview of the current resources for twin research. These can be used to obtain insights into the genetic epidemiology of complex traits and diseases, to study the interaction of genotype with sex, age and lifestyle factors, and to study the causes of co-morbidity between traits and diseases. Because of their design, these registers offer unique opportunities for selected sampling for quantitative trait loci linkage and association studies.