Heritability of ambulatory and office blood pressure in the Swiss population

Heba Alwan, Georg Ehret, Belen Ponte, Menno Pruijm, Daniel Ackermann, Idris Guessous, Jan A. Staessen, Kei Asayama, Zoltán Kutalik, Philippe Vuistiner, Fred Paccaud, Antoinette Pechere-Bertschi, Markus Mohaupt, Bruno Vogt, Pierre Yves Martin, Michel Burnier, Murielle Bochud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Blood pressure (BP) is known to aggregate in families. Yet, heritability estimates are population-specific and no Swiss data have been published so far. We estimated the heritability of ambulatory and office BP in a Swiss population-based sample. Methods: The Swiss Kidney Project on Genes in Hypertension is a population-based family study focusing on BP genetics. Office and ambulatory BP were measured in 1009 individuals from 271 nuclear families. Heritability was estimated for SBP, DBP, and pulse pressure using a maximum likelihood method implanted in the Statistical Analysis in Genetic Epidemiology software. Results: The 518 women and 491 men included in this analysis had a mean (±SD) age of 48.3 (±17.4) and 47.3 (±17.7) years, and a mean BMI of 23.8 (±4.2) and 25.9 (±4.1) kg/m 2, respectively. Narrow-sense heritability estimates (±standard error) for ambulatory SBP, DBP, and pulse pressure were 0.37±0.07, 0.26±0.07, and 0.29±0.07 for 24-h BP; 0.39±0.07, 0.28±0.07, and 0.27±0.07 for day BP; and 0.25±0.07, 0.20±0.07, and 0.30±0.07 for night BP, respectively (all P<0.001). Heritability estimates for office SBP, DBP, and pulse pressure were 0.21±0.08, 0.25±0.08, and 0.18±0.07 (all P<0.01). Conclusions: We found significant heritability estimates for both ambulatory and office BP in this Swiss population-based study. Our findings justify the ongoing search for the genetic determinants of BP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2061-2067
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of hypertension
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015


  • ambulatory blood pressure
  • cross-sectional
  • heritability
  • population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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