Heritability of Multivariate Factors of the Metabolic Syndrome in Nondiabetic Japanese Americans

Melissa A. Austin, Karen L. Edwards, Marguerite J. McNeely, Wayne L. Chandler, Donna L. Leonetti, Philippa J. Talmud, Steve E. Humphries, Wilfred Y. Fujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


A rapidly growing body of evidence demonstrates important associations between the metabolic syndrome, characterized by a cluster of risk factors or phenotypes that include dyslipidemia, central obesity, hypertension, and hyperinsulinemia, and both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the metabolic syndrome in a sample of 432 individuals from 68 Japanese-American families, using factor analysis of quantitative phenotypes, and to estimate the heritability of these independent factors. Using nine characteristic phenotypes that included LDL particle size and C-reactive protein (CRP), factor analysis identified three multivariate factors interpreted as lipids, body fat/insulin/glucose/CRP, and blood pressure, explaining 65% of the variance. Heritability analysis revealed significant genetic effects on all of the factors: lipids (h2 = 0.52, P < 0.001), body faf/insulin/glucose/CRP (h2 = 0.27, P = 0.016), and blood pressure (h2 = 0.25, P = 0.026). This analysis shows that independent, multivariate factors of the metabolic syndrome are heritable, demonstrating genetic influences on the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of the syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1169
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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