52 Genes Linked To Size of Heart Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. dr. P. van der Harst
Interventional Cardiologist
Scientific Director Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
University Medical Center Groningen
Groningen The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The electrocardiogram harbors important clues for the development and progression of heart diseases. We studied the voltages of the QRS-complex, a measure of cardiac hypertrophy which is associated with heart failure and various cardiomyopathies. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and identified 52 regions in the genome that were associated with one or more QRS characteristics. 32 of these were novel. In these 52 regions we found 67 candidate genes that are might play a role in the adequate function of the human heart and the development of heart disease.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We have provided fresh insights into genes and biologic pathways related to electrically active myocardial mass. This knowledge may help us to identify new targets of therapy for cardiac conditions such as heart failure or cardiomyopathies.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We have presented a large catalogue of genetic associations. In our work we also present several examples of how these associations could be taken forward. For example, we present data in the fruit fly and mouse to demonstrate the relevancy of some of the identified genes but this is only a first start. It will require a considerable world wide effort to experimentally validate and understand all the reported genetic associations.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We hope that this rich resource of novel data presented in the manuscript and its +100 pages supplement will be explored extensively by the scientific community and inspires new experiments and projects. The treatment and prevention of heart failure represents a large and growing unmet medical need and the solution to it starts with a better understanding of the mechanisms involved.

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