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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 314823, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Familial Aggregation of Metabolic Syndrome Indicators in Portuguese Families

1CIFI2D, Faculty of Sports, University of Porto, Rua Dr. Plácido Costa 91, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal
2Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
3INSERM, UMR S937, Institute for Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN), Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC, Paris6), 75654 Paris Cedex 13, France

Received 11 April 2013; Accepted 28 August 2013

Academic Editor: Roya Kelishadi

Copyright © 2013 D. M. Santos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Aims. Family studies are well suited to investigate the genetic architecture underlying the metabolic syndrome (MetS). The purposes of this paper were (i) to estimate heritabilities for each of the MetS indicators, and (ii) to test the significance of familial intratrait and cross-trait correlations in MetS markers. Methods and Results. This study included 1,363 individuals from 515 Portuguese families in which five MetS components, including waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP), HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), and glucose (GLU), were measured. Intratrait and cross-trait familial correlations of these five components were estimated using Generalized Estimating Equations. Each MetS component was significantly heritable ( ranged from 0.12 to 0.60) and exhibited strong familial resemblance with correlations between biological relatives of similar magnitude to those observed between spouses. With respect to cross-trait correlations, familial resemblance was very weak except for the HDL-TG pair. Conclusions. The present findings confirm the idea of familial aggregation in MetS traits. Spousal correlations were, in general, of the same magnitude as the biological relatives' correlations suggesting that most of the phenotypic variance in MetS traits could be explained by shared environment.