ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to define the genetic basis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, characterized by right ventricular fibrofatty replacement and arrhythmias, causes sudden death. Autosomal dominant inheritance, reduced penetrance, and 7 desmosome-encoding causative genes are known. The basis of low penetrance is poorly understood.
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy probands and family members were enrolled, blood was obtained, lymphoblastoid cell lines were immortalized, deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of desmosome-encoding genes was performed, PCR products were sequenced, and diseased tissue samples were studied for intercellular junction protein distribution with confocal immunofluorescence microscopy and antibodies against key proteins.
We identified 21 variants in plakophilin-2 (PKP2) in 38 of 198 probands (19%), including missense, nonsense, splice site, and deletion/insertion mutations. Pedigrees showed wide intra-familial variability (severe early-onset disease to asymptomatic individuals). In 9 of 38 probands, PKP2 variants were identified that were encoded in trans (compound heterozygosity). The 38 probands hosting PKP2 variants were screened for other desmosomal genes mutations; second variants (digenic heterozygosity) were identified in 16 of 38 subjects with PKP2 variants (42%), including desmoplakin (DSP) (n = 6), desmoglein-2 (DSG2) (n = 5), plakophilin-4 (PKP4) (n = 1), and desmocollin-2 (DSC2) (n = 1). Heterozygous mutations in non-PKP 2 desmosomal genes occurred in 14 of 198 subjects (7%), including DSP (n = 4), DSG2 (n = 5), DSC2 (n = 3), and junctional plakoglobin (JUP) (n = 2). All variants occurred in conserved regions; none was identified in 700 ethnic-matched control subjects. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated abnormalities of protein architecture.
These data suggest that the genetic basis of ARVC includes reduced penetrance with compound and digenic heterozygosity. Disturbed junctional cytoarchitecture in subjects with desmosomal mutations confirms that ARVC is a disease of the desmosome and cell junction.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 02/2010; 55(6):587-97. · 14.16 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) is characterized by ventricular arrhythmias, sudden death, and fatty or fibrofatty replacement of right ventricular myocytes. Recent studies have noted an association between human ARVD/C and molecular remodeling of intercalated disc structures. However, progress has been constrained by limitations inherent to human studies.
We studied the molecular composition of the intercalated disc structure in a naturally occurring animal model of ARVD/C (Boxer dogs).
We studied hearts from 12 Boxers with confirmed ARVD/C and 2 controls. Ventricular sections from 4 animals were examined by immunofluorescent microscopy. Frozen tissue samples were used for Western blot analysis. Proteins investigated were N-cadherin, plakophilin 2, desmoplakin, plakoglobin, desmin, and connexin 43 (Cx43).
In control dogs, all proteins tested by immunofluorescence analysis yielded intense localized signals at sites of end-to-end cell apposition. In contrast, myocardial tissues from ARVD/C-afflicted Boxers showed preservation of N-cadherin staining but loss of detectable signal for Cx43 at the intercalated disc location. Western blots indicated that the Cx43 protein was still present in the samples. Gene sequencing analysis showed no mutations in desmoplakin, plakoglobin, Cx43, or plakophilin 2.
Mutation(s) responsible for ARVD/C in Boxers lead, directly or indirectly, to severe modifications of mechanical and electrical cell-cell interactions. Furthermore, significant reduction in gap junction formation may promote a substrate for malignant ventricular arrhythmias. This model may help to advance our understanding of the molecular basis, pathophysiology, and potential therapeutic approach to patients with ARVD/C.
Heart Rhythm 10/2007; 4(9):1196-205. · 4.10 Impact Factor
Heart Rhythm 10/2005; 2(9):1025-33. · 4.10 Impact Factor