Aims The elasticity of the internal jugular vein (IJV) is a major determinant of cerebral venous drainage and right atrium venous return. However, the level of genetic determination of IJV dimensions, compliance and distensibility has not been studied yet. Methods 170 adult Caucasian twins (43 monozygotic [MZ] and 42 dizygotic [DZ] pairs) were involved from the Italian twin registry. Anteroposterior and mediolateral diameters of the IJV were measured bilaterally by ultrasonography. Measurements were made both in the sitting and supine positions, with or without Valsalva maneuver. Univariate quantitative genetic modeling was performed. Results Genetic factors are responsible for 30–70% of the measured properties of IJV at higher venous pressure even after adjustment for age and gender. The highest level of inheritance was found in the supine position regarding compliance (62%) and venous diameter during Valsalva (69%). Environmental and measurement-related factors instead are more important in the sitting position, when the venous pressure is low and the venous lumen is almost collapsed. The range of capacity changes between the lowest and highest intraluminal venous pressure (full distension range) are mainly determined by genetic factors (58%). Conclusions Our study has shown substantial heritability of IJV biomechanics at higher venous pressures even after adjustment for age and gender. These findings yield an important insight to what degree the geometric and elastic properties of the vascular wall are formed by genetic and by environmental factors in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)