Multilevel analysis of systolic blood pressure and ACE gene I/D polymorphism in 438 Swedish families - a public health perspective
Kristina Bengtsson Boström
Summary, in English
Background: Individuals belonging to the same family share a number of genetic as well as environmental circumstances that may condition a common SBP level. Among the genetic factors, the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) gene I/D polymorphism appears as a possible candidate as it might influence both SBP and the pharmacological effect of ACE inhibitors. We aimed to combine genetic epidemiology with public health ideas concerning life-course and multilevel epidemiology in order to understand the role of familial factors regarding individual SBP. Methods: We applied multilevel regression analysis on 1926 individuals nested within 438 families from South Sweden. Modelling familial SBP variance as a function of age and use of ACE inhibitors we calculates a variance partition coefficient and the proportional change in familial SBP variance attributable to differences in ACE gene I/D polymorphism. Results: Our results suggest the existence of genetic or environmental circumstances that produce a considerable familial clustering of SBP, especially among individuals using ACE-inhibitors. However, ACE gene I/D polymorphism seems to play a minor role in this context. In addition, familial factors - genetic, environmental or their interaction - shape SBP among non-users of ACE inhibitors but their effect is expressed later in the life- course. Conclusion: Strategies directed to prevent hypertension should be launched in younger rather than in older ages and both prevention of hypertension and its treatment with ACE inhibitors should be focused on families rather than on individuals.