Genetic and environmental determinants of level of pulmonary function

F. I. Lewiiter, I. B. Tager, M. Mcgue, P. V. Tishler, F. E. Speizer

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79 Scopus citations


Measurements of level of pulmonary function (one second forced expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced expiratory flow between the 25% and 75% volume points (FEF25-75) were obtained on members of 404 nuclear families living in East Boston, Massachusetts In 1974. These families were ascertained through a random sample of children aged 5-9 years. Measurements were obtained on family members on three separate occasions during a 5-year period. These data were subjected to the techniques of path analysts to study the relative contributions of heredity and environment to individual levels of pulmonary function. Genetic heritability was found to be consistent through time (41-47%) and was the same for parents and their children. Common familial environmental effects on levei of pulmonary function explained 1-4% of the variability in children and 11-28% in adults. Furthermore, we were able to confirm prior epidemiologic analysis of these data which have demonstrated an effect of maternal smoking on the level of pulmonary function in their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-530
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1984

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Despite several decades of investiga-that define individual susceptibility to tion, factors other than cigarette smoking chronic airways obstructive disease re-main largely undefined (1). A number of investigations have attempted to identify Received for publication January 26,1984. familial (2-4) or genetic factors that Abbreviations: F E F M , . , forced expiratory flow m l• i_.ih t .bie_ • _ L A J - A *• • I betweenthe25%and75%volumepoints;FEV,,one S important predictors of risk. second forced expiratory volume; FVC, forced vital Most genetic studies have focused on the capacity, alphai-antitrypsin protease inhibitor 1 Channing Laboratory, Department of Mediane, , /rs *u.i. i_ i_ • i_ • i i_ Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's system (5). Although high risk pheno-Hospital, Boston, MA. types have been identified (6), abnormal-ReprintrequeststoDr.IraB.Tager,Channingitjeaofthj8SyStemexplainonlyavery Laboratory,180LongwoodAve.,Boston,MA02115. ,,r ,. -,, *,. ., _. ,. » Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of 8 m a 1 1 fraction of the diversity of indi-Medirine, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Hos-vidual risk for chronic airways obstruc-3DivisionofBiostatistic8,WashingtonpitalBostonMA. .rUniversitr y.«.,. ,,,_, A,.tive disease.Other studies have explored School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO specific genetic hypotheses /(3,7-11o ) and/ 4 Medical Service, Veteran's Administration Med-or have sought to identify a familial OC-icalCentor, Brockton, MA. currence of increased risk (12). Although Project supported by grant number HL22528 from ,.. , r , the Division of Lung Diseases, and grants numbers multiple occurrences of chronic airways HL26491 and HL07427fromthe Division of Heart obstructive disease in certain families and Vascular Disease, National Heart, Lung and ^ d the familial aggregation of level of eral Medical Sciences, and MH 31302 fa^the Na-lunS function have been reported, the spe-tional Institute of Mental Health. cific genetic and environmental contri-


  • Family characteristics
  • Genetics
  • Respiratory function test


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