beta-2 adrenergic receptor gene variations, blood pressure, and heart size in normal twins
Busjahn A, Li GH, Faulhaber HD, Rosenthal M, Becker A, Jeschke E, Schuster H, Timmermann B, Hoehe MR, Luft FC
Hypertension 2000 Feb;35(2):555-60

Genetic variability, which influences cardiovascular phenotypes in normal persons, is likely to be relevant to cardiovascular disease. We studied normal monozygotic and dizygotic twins and found strong genetic influences on blood pressure and heart size. We then relied on the dizygotic twins and their parents to apply molecular genetic techniques. We performed a linkage analysis with markers close to the beta-2 adrenergic receptor (AR) gene locus in the dizygotic twins and their parents and found strong evidence for linkage to the quantitative traits of blood pressure and heart size. We then used allele-specific polymerase chain reaction to genotype the subjects further. We performed an association analysis and found that 4 functionally relevant polymorphisms in the beta-2 AR gene, namely Arg16/Gly, Gln27/Glu, Thr164/Ile, and a variant in the promoter region (-47C/T), were variably associated with blood pressure and heart size differences but were in linkage dysequilibrium with each other. A subsequent conditional analysis suggested that the Arg16/Gly polymorphism exerted the predominant effect. These findings underscore the importance of the beta-2 AR gene to blood pressure regulation, heart size, and probably to the development of hypertension. We suggest that a combined linkage and association approach will elucidate the genetic variability influencing blood pressure and other cardiovascular phenotypes.

A cholesterol-lowering gene maps to chromosome 13q
Knoblauch H, Muller-Myhsok B, Busjahn A,Ben Avi L, Bahring S, Baron H, Heath SC, Uhlmann R, Faulhaber HD, Shpitzen S, Aydin A, Reshef A, Rosenthal M, Eliav O, Muhl A, Lowe A, Schurr D, Harats D, Jeschke E, Friedlander Y, Schuster H, Luft FC, Leitersdorf E
Am J Hum Genet 2000 Jan;66(1):157-66

A cholesterol-lowering gene has been postulated from familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) families having heterozygous persons with normal LDL levels and homozygous individuals with LDL levels similar to those in persons with heterozygous FH. We studied such a family with FH that also had members without FH and with lower-than-normal LDL levels. We performed linkage analyses and identified a locus at 13q, defined by markers D13S156 and D13S158. FASTLINK and GENEHUNTER yielded LOD scores >5 and >4, respectively, whereas an affected-sib-pair analysis gave a peak multipoint LOD score of 4.8, corresponding to a P value of 1.26x10-6. A multipoint quantitative-trait-locus (QTL) linkage analysis with maximum-likelihood binomial QTL verified this locus as a QTL for LDL levels. To test the relevance of this QTL in an independent normal population, we studied MZ and DZ twin subjects. An MZ-DZ comparison confirmed genetic variance with regard to lipid concentrations. We then performed an identity-by-descent linkage analysis on the DZ twins, with markers at the 13q locus. We found strong evidence for linkage at this locus with LDL (P<.0002), HDL (P<.004), total cholesterol (P<.0002), and body-mass index (P<.0001). These data provide support for the existence of a new gene influencing lipid concentrations in humans.

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma gene locus is related to body mass index and lipid values in healthy nonobese subjects
Knoblauch-H; Busjahn-A; Muller-Myhsok-B; Faulhaber-HD; Schuster-H; Uhlmann-R; Luft-FC
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 1999 Dec;19(12):2940-4

The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) gene has been implicated in morbid obesity and is important to lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. However, the relevance of gene variations in healthy nonobese subjects has not been defined. We recruited monozygotic and dizygotic healthy nonobese twin subjects to test the hypothesis that the PPARgamma gene is important to body mass index and lipid concentrations in healthy nonobese subjects. Both linkage and association strategies were used in the same dizygotic twins. The PPARgamma gene locus was linked (P<0.01) to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and body mass index as quantitative traits. A biallelic variant in the PPARgamma gene was associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and body mass index (P<0.05). We also looked for linkage between the same variables and the retinoic X receptor gene locus. This locus was linked to total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol as well as triglycerides. We conclude that the PPARgamma gene is highly relevant to lipid metabolism and body mass index, not only in the morbidly obese but also in healthy nonobese subjects. The same appears to be true for its binding partner. Sequencing these genes in twins would serve to identify gene variations contributing to body mass index and lipid concentrations in healthy nonobese subjects.