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K.E. Lee, B.E. Klein, R. Klein, M.D. Knudtson; Familial Correlation of Retinal Vessel Measurements in the Beaver Dam Eye Study . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):2050.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: To describe familial correlations of retinal vessel measurements in a population of older adults. Methods: The population of Beaver Dam, WI aged 43-84 years in 1988 was invited to participate in a baseline examination from 1988-1990. Family relationships among participants were identified. A standardized exam and interview was administered during which blood pressure was measured, current smoking status and photographs of the retina were obtained. Computer-assisted grading was done from the digitized Field 1 photo to determine central retinal artery (CRAE) and central retinal venular equivalents (CRVE). These measures were then used to calculate the arteriole-to-venule ratio (AVR). Familial correlations were calculated using FCOR in the SAGE package. Analysis was done on the right eye measures for 869 sibling pairs, 343 parent-child pairs, 1359 cousin pairs, 547 avuncular pairs and 893 spousal pairs. Results: : After adjustment for age, gender, mean arteriole blood pressure, and current smoking status, the correlation between siblings for the CRVE was 0.23 (95% CI: 0.15, 0.31) and for the CRAE was 0.19 (0.11,0.27). The sibling correlation for the AVR was 0.10 (0.02,0.17). Parent-child correlations are very similar, 0.24, 0.25 and 0.18 for the CRVE, CRAE, and AVR, respectively. This gives heritability estimates of 0.5 for the vein and artery equivalents. Avuncular correlations are smaller, 0.17, 0.11 and 0.10 for the CRVE, CRAE, and AVR, respectively. These are still significantly different from 0. Cousin correlations are 0.09, 0.07 and 0.03 for CRVE, CRAE, and AVR, respectively, with the CRVE and CRAE correlations significantly different from 0. Spousal correlations of 0.03, 0.04 and 0.01 for CRVE, CRAE and AVR, respectively, are not significantly different from 0. This pattern of correlation, with similar sibling and parent-child correlations, avuncular correlation half of the sibling correlation, cousin correlation half again and no spousal correlation, is consistent with a genetic model. Conclusions: Retinal vessel equivalents are more highly correlated between relatives than between unrelated individuals, even after adjustment for blood pressure and smoking. This concordance is likely the result of shared genes, as supported by the familial correlations observed. Because the vessel measurements may be predictive of cardiovascular disease, understanding these familial relationships could have important health benefits.
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