Strong genetic basis for tonsillitis
Recurrent tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) may have a strong genetic component, researchers report in the Archives of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery.
Lead investigator Dr. Ellen Kvestad from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo told Reuters Health that the disease is known to run in families but the finding that this is due to genetic factors with no contribution from common environmental factors “was a bit surprising.”
Kvestad and associates used data from 9479 Norwegian twins to investigate the possible genetic and environmental contributions to recurrent tonsillitis.
Recurrent tonsillitis was more prevalent among females (14.1 percent) than among males (8.8 percent), the authors report, and the overall prevalence was 11.7 percent.
Of note, the correlations for recurrent tonsillitis were much higher among identical twins - twins that come from the same egg that splits after fertilization and sharing the same genes—than among fraternal twins in which two eggs were fertilized simultaneously.
Genetic factors, both additive genetic effects and genetic dominance, explained 62 percent of the variance in recurrent tonsillitis while individual environmental effects explained the remaining 38 percent of the variance.
Summing up, the authors say this study “provides evidence of a substantial genetic predisposition for tonsillitis.”
SOURCE: Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery May 2005.
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