Background: Configuration of the abdominal aorta is related to healthy aging and a variety of disorders. Objectives: We aimed to assess heritable and environmental effects on the abdominal aortic diameter. Methods: 114 adult (69 monozygotic, 45 same-sex dizygotic) twin pairs (mean age 43.6 ± 16.3 years) underwent abdominal ultrasound with Esaote MyLab 70X ultrasound machine to visualize the abdominal aorta below the level of the origin of the renal arteries and 1-3 cm above the bifurcation. Results: Age- and sex-adjusted heritability of the abdominal aortic diameter below the level of the origin of the renal arteries was 40% [95% confidence interval (CI), 14 to 67%] and 55% above the aortic bifurcation (95% CI, 45 to 70%). None of the aortic diameters showed common environmental effects, but unshared environmental effects were responsible for 60% and 45% of the traits, respectively. Conclusions: Our analysis documents the moderate heritability and its segment-specific difference of the abdominal aortic diameter. The moderate part of variance was explained by unshared environmental components, emphasizing the importance of lifestyle factors in primary prevention. Further studies in this field may guide future gene-mapping efforts and investigate specific lifestyle factors to prevent abdominal aortic dilatation and its complications.
- Aorta, abdominal / genetics
- Risk factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine