Heritability and genetic and environmental correlations of heart rate variability and baroreceptor reflex sensitivity with ambulatory and beat-to-beat blood pressure
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Abstract: This family study from Oman (n = 1231) explored the heritability and genetic and environmental correlations of heart rate variability (HRV) and baroreceptor reflex sensitivity (BRS) with ambulatory and beat-to-beat blood pressure (BP). Ambulatory BP was measured for 24 hours to calculate mean values for daytime and sleep separately. Time and frequency domain HRV indices, BRS, office beat-to-beat BP, and heart rate (HR) were measured for 10 minutes at rest. SOLAR software was used to perform univariate and bivariate quantitative genetic analyses adjusting for age, age2, sex, their interactions and BMI. Heritability of SBP and DBP ranged from 16.8% to 40.4% for daytime, sleeping, 24-hour and office beat-to-beat measurements. HR and BRS showed a heritability of 31.9% and 20.6%, respectively, and for HRV indices heritability ranged from 11.1% to 20.5%. All HRV measurements and BRS were found to be negatively correlated with BP, but phenotypic correlation coefficients were relatively weak; HR was positively correlated with BP. None of the genetic correlations were statistically significant while environmental factors explained most of the correlations for all HRV indices with BP. Our study found consistent but weak correlations among HRV, HR, BRS and ambulatory/office beat-to-beat BP. However, environmental rather than genetic factors contributed most to those correlation.