Genetic and environmental influence on thyroid gland volume and thickness of thyroid isthmus: A twin study

Adam D omonkos Tarnoki, David L aszlo Tarnoki, Gabor Speer, Levente Littvay, Pal Bata, Zsolt Garami, Viktor Berczi, Kinga Karlinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: Decreased thyroid volume has been related to increased prevalence of thyroid cancer. Subjects and methods: One hundred and fourteen Hungarian adult twin pairs (69 monozygotic, 45 dizygotic) with or without known thyroid disorders underwent thyroid ultrasound. Thickness of the thyroid isthmus was measured at the thickest portion of the gland in the midline using electronic calipers at the time of scanning. Volume of the thyroid lobe was computed according to the following formula: thyroid height*width*depth*correction factor (0.63). Results: Age-, sex-, body mass indexand smoking-adjusted heritability of the thickness of thyroid isthmus was 50% (95% confidence interval [CI], 35 to 66%). Neither left nor right thyroid volume showed additive genetic effects, but shared environments were 68% (95% CI, 48 to 80%) and 79% (95% CI, 72 to 87%), respectively. Magnitudes of monozygotic and dizygotic co-twin correlations were not substantially impacted by the correction of covariates of body mass index and smoking. Unshared environmental effects showed a moderate influence on dependent parameters (24-50%). Conclusions: Our analysis support that familial factors are important for thyroid measures in a general twin population. A larger sample size is needed to show whether this is because of common environmental (e.g. intrauterine effects, regional nutrition habits, iodine supply) or genetic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • Goiter
  • Heritability
  • Isthmus
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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