Possible genetic influence on the strength of human muscle nerve sympathetic activity at rest.
Large reproducible interindividual differences in the strength of human muscle nerve sympathetic activity have been demonstrated previously without satisfactory explanation. We undertook the present study to investigate whether a genetic influence may be a factor of importance. Microneurographic recordings of sympathetic impulse traffic were made in the peroneal nerve in nine pairs of monozygotic male twins and eight pairs of age-matched male subjects without family relationship. The strength of the sympathetic activity was quantitated as number of sympathetic bursts per 100 heart beats and bursts per minute. Group mean values of muscle sympathetic activity, heart rate, and blood pressure were similar in the two groups. Intrapair differences (mean +/- SEM) of sympathetic activity were 5.4 +/- 1.7 bursts per 100 heart beats (1.7 +/- 0.5 bursts per minute) for the twins and 19.4 +/- 3.2 bursts per 100 heart beats (11.8 +/- 2.5 bursts per minute) for the control subjects (P < .01 for both). The degree of reproducibility between twins is similar to that reported previously between repeated recordings in the same subject. The finding may indicate that the strength of sympathetic outflow to muscle is controlled genetically. If so, we speculate that this may contribute to the heritability of blood pressure in both normotensive and hypertensive subjects.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association