Evans KL, Wirtz HS, Li J, She R, Maya J, Gui H, Hamer A, Depre C, and Lanfear DE. Genetics of heart rate in heart failure patients (GenHRate). Hum Genomics 2019; 13(1):22.
BACKGROUND: Elevated resting heart rate (HR) is a risk factor and therapeutic target in patients with heart failure (HF) and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Previous studies indicate a genetic contribution to HR in population samples but there is little data in patients with HFrEF. METHODS: Patients who met Framingham criteria for HF and had an ejection fraction < 50% were prospectively enrolled in a genetic HF registry (2007-2015, n = 1060). All participants donated blood for DNA and underwent genome-wide genotyping with additional variants called via imputation. We performed testing of previously identified variant "hits" (43 loci) as well as a genome-wide association (GWAS) of HR, adjusted for race, using Efficient Mixed-Model Association Expedited (EMMAX). RESULTS: The cohort was 35% female, 51% African American, and averaged 68 years of age. There was a 2 beats per minute (bpm) difference in HR by race, AA being slightly higher. Among 43 candidate variants, 4 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in one gene (GJA1) were significantly associated with HR. In genome-wide testing, one statistically significant association peak was identified on chromosome 22q13, with strongest SNP rs535263906 (p = 3.3 x 10(-8)). The peak is located within the gene Cadherin EGF LAG Seven-Pass G-Type Receptor 1 (CELSR1), encoding a cadherin super-family cell surface protein identified in GWAS of other phenotypes (e.g., stroke). The highest associated SNP was specific to the African American population. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm GJA1 association with HR in the setting of HFrEF and identify novel candidate genes for HR in HFrEF patients, particularly CELSR1. These associations should be tested in additional cohorts.