Genetic influences in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a twin study.Gut 2003; 52(8):1085-9Gut
A number of families have been described which include multiple members with symptomatic, endoscopic, or complicated gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). First degree relatives of patients with GORD are more likely to suffer with GORD symptoms. These observations raise the possibility of a genetic contribution to the aetiology of GORD.
To determine the relative contribution of genetic factors to GORD by evaluating GORD symptoms in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins.
A total of 4480 unselected twin pairs, identified from a national volunteer twin register, were asked to complete a validated symptom questionnaire. GORD was defined as symptoms of heartburn or acid regurgitation at least weekly during the past year.
Replies were obtained from 5032 subjects (56% response rate). A total of 1960 twin pairs were evaluable: 928 MZ pairs (86 male pairs, mean (SD) age 52 (13) (range 19-81) years) and 1032 DZ pairs (71 male pairs, mean age 52 (13) (20-82) years). The prevalence of GORD among both groups of twins was 18%. Casewise concordance rates were significantly higher for MZ than DZ twins (42% v 26%; p<0.001). Multifactorial liability threshold modelling suggests that additive genetic effects combined with unique environmental factors provide the best model for GORD. Heritability estimates suggest that 43% (95% confidence interval 32-55%) of the variance in liability to GORD is due to additive genetic factors.
There is a substantial genetic contribution to the aetiology of GORD.