BACKGROUND: The FOXC2 gene on 16q24 is mutated in lymphoedema distichiasis (LD), in which varicose veins (VV) are a common feature. We hypothesised that this gene might be implicated in the development of VV in the normal population, therefore, after performing a classical twin study, we tested for linkage and association in white women. We also tested for linkage with haemorrhoids (H), as a separate venous anomaly at the same locus. METHODS: A total of 2060 complete female twin pairs aged 18-80 years from the St Thomas' Adult UK Twin registry replied to questions on VV and H as part of a broader postal survey of 6600 twins (62% response rate). Dizygotic female twin pairs were tested for linkage and association to the candidate marker D16S520 (1903 individuals genotyped), which is located about 80 kb from FOXC2. RESULTS: Casewise concordance rates were significantly higher for monozygotic than dizygotic twins for both phenotypes (VV 67% v 45%; p = 2.2x10(-6); H 68% v 59%; p = 0.01; H including during pregnancy 73% v 64%; p = 2.1x10(-4)), corresponding to additive genetic heritabilities in liability of 86% (95% confidence interval (CI) 73% to 99%) for VV and 56-61% for H (95% CI 43% to 73%). The presence of VV and H were significantly correlated. We found significant evidence of linkage to the marker for VV (MLS(ASP) = 1.37, p = 0.01; GLM(ASP/DSP) Z = 3.17 p = 0.002), but no association. Both linkage and association tests were negative for H. The combined phenotype of having VV and H did not show any evidence of linkage or association. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate VV and H to be heritable, related conditions, and the data strongly suggest FOXC2 to be implicated in the development of VV in the general population.
Pubmed ID: 15744037 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Adolescent | Adult | Aged | Aged, 80 and over | Alleles | Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16 | Female | Forkhead Transcription Factors | Genetic Linkage | Genetic Testing | Genotype | Hemorrhoids | Humans | Middle Aged | Phenotype | Twin Studies as Topic | Varicose Veins
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