Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 23–31 | Cite as

Familial Aggregation and Segregation Analysis of Snoring and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Catharine J. Holberg
  • Sunil Natrajan
  • Martha G. Cline
  • Stuart F. QuanEmail author
Original Article


To investigate possible modes of inheritance that would explain familial aggregation in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), familial correlation and segregation analyses were performed on data derived from 584 pedigrees with 2019 cases enrolled in the Tucson Epidemiologic Study of Obstructive Airways Disease (TESOAD) who were at least 10 years of age and who had information pertaining to snoring and daytime sleepiness. Data were obtained from the 9th (May 1984 to October 1985) and 12th (February 1990 to October 1992) surveys of the TESOAD, which is a random, stratified sample of the non-Hispanic Caucasian population of Tucson, Arizona. A snoring phenotype was considered present if it occurred on at least some nights. A “sleep apnea” phenotype was constructed if participants snored and experienced daytime sleepiness. Familial correlations for snoring showed significant mother-child and sibling correlations but not father-child correlations. For sleep apnea, significant parent-daughter but not parent-son or sibling correlations were observed. Segregation analyses for snoring with regressive familial effects and sibling, age, and obesity covariates showed no evidence for mendelian transmission. However, additional familial effects were present that suggested phenotype aggregation from polygenic or environmental factors, or both. For the sleep apnea phenotype, similar segregation analyses indicated that mendelian dominant or codominant models were possible. However, the analyses also suggested that a nongenetic model fit the data as well. In addition, consistent with the familial correlations, specific maternal- and sibling-related effects remained even after inclusion of age, gender, and obesity covariates. These data support the concept that inheritable or shared environmental factors contribute to the development of OSA and that maternal components may be more important than paternal ones.


obstructive sleep apnea snoring familial aggregation genetics 


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Copyright information

© Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catharine J. Holberg
    • 1
  • Sunil Natrajan
    • 1
  • Martha G. Cline
    • 1
  • Stuart F. Quan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Respiratory Sciences and Sleep Disorders Centers, Department of MedicineUniversity of Arizona College of MedicineTucson
  2. 2.Respiratory Sciences CenterUniversity of Arizona College of MedicineCampbell, Tucson

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