Heritability of arthritis in African American twins: findings from the Carolina African American Twins Study of Aging.
PURPOSE:To determine the genetic and environmental influences exerted on arthritis by measuring the distribution of self-reported arthritis diagnoses among monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) African American twins. METHODS:A cross-sectional study was conducted on 97 MZ and 113 DZ twin pairs recruited into the Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging (CAATSA). The sample had a mean age of 47 +/- 13.9 years. A twin design was used to determine correlations in arthritis diagnosis for MZ and DZ twins and to estimate the contribution of genes and environment to the variation in an arthritis diagnosis. RESULTS:The concordance rate for being diagnosed with arthritis was 42% for MZ twins, and 20% for DZ twins, resulting in a 2.1:1 ratio of MZ to DZ concordance. These results indicate a significant proportion of individual variability was due to genetic factors (43%) on an arthritis diagnosis as well as 57% of variance due to nonshared environmental influences. CONCLUSION:This research suggests that while there are genetic influences on arthritis diagnosis, environmental factors, such as infections, dietary factors, urbanization, and pollutants, also play a role in accounting for variability in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis among diverse populations.
Baker, TA; Whitfield, KE; Edwards, CL
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