Responses to drug therapy vary from benefit to no effect to adverse effects which can be serious or occasionally fatal. Increasing evidence supports the idea that genetic variants can play a major role in this spectrum of responses. Well-studied examples in cardiovascular therapeutics include predictors of steady-state warfarin dosage, predictors of reduced efficacy among patients receiving clopidogrel for drug eluting stents, and predictors of some serious adverse drug effects. This review summarizes contemporary approaches to identifying and validating genetic predictors of variability in response to drug treatment. Approaches to incorporating this new knowledge into clinical care, and the barriers to this concept, are addressed.
Purpose of review
To survey genetic variation contributing to variable responsiveness and toxicity to important cardiovascular drugs and highlight recent developments in the field of cardiovascular pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine.
Previously recognized pharmacogenomic associations with drug efficacy have been further validated (e.g. with clopidogrel and warfarin) and shown to influence clinically important outcomes. The clinical significance of variants modulating toxicity (e.g. SLCO1B1 with simvastatin) has also been confirmed. The genetic contribution to variable efficacy and toxicity of other important classes of cardiovascular drugs, such as beta-blockers, is becoming increasingly recognized. Prospective trials testing whether the use of genomic information improves clinical care are underway. Guidance based on the most well-established pharmacogenomic findings has appeared in prescribing labeling and is in the early stages of being implemented into routine clinical care.
Clinically validated gene variants that modulate responsiveness to cardiovascular drugs continue to be discovered and validated. Early steps are underway to translate these discoveries into clinical care.
personalized medicine; pharmacogenomics; variable drug response
Genetic variants of the enzyme that metabolizes warfarin, cytochrome P-450 2C9 (CYP2C9), and of a key pharmacologic target of warfarin, vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKORC1), contribute to differences in patients’ responses to various warfarin doses, but the role of these variants during initial anticoagulation is not clear.
In 297 patients starting warfarin therapy, we assessed CYP2C9 genotypes (CYP2C9 *1, *2, and *3), VKORC1 haplotypes (designated A and non-A), clinical characteristics, response to therapy (as determined by the international normalized ratio [INR]), and bleeding events. The study outcomes were the time to the first INR within the therapeutic range, the time to the first INR of more than 4, the time above the therapeutic INR range, the INR response over time, and the warfarin dose requirement.
As compared with patients with the non-A/non-A haplotype, patients with the A/A haplotype of VKORC1 had a decreased time to the first INR within the therapeutic range (P = 0.02) and to the first INR of more than 4 (P = 0.003). In contrast, the CYP2C9 genotype was not a significant predictor of the time to the first INR within the therapeutic range (P = 0.57) but was a significant predictor of the time to the first INR of more than 4 (P = 0.03). Both the CYP2C9 genotype and VKORC1 haplotype had a significant influence on the required warfarin dose after the first 2 weeks of therapy.
Initial variability in the INR response to warfarin was more strongly associated with genetic variability in the pharmacologic target of warfarin, VKORC1, than with CYP2C9.
While the sodium channel locus SCN10A has been implicated by genome-wide association studies as a modulator of cardiac electrophysiology, the role of its gene product Nav1.8 as a modulator of cardiac ion currents is unknown.
We determined the electrophysiological and pharmacological properties of Nav1.8 in heterologous cell systems and assessed the antiarrhythmic effect of Nav1.8 block on isolated mouse and rabbit ventricular cardiomyocytes.
Methods and results
We first demonstrated that Scn10a transcripts are identified in mouse heart and that the blocker A-803467 is highly specific for Nav1.8 current over that of Nav1.5, the canonical cardiac sodium channel encoded by SCN5A. We then showed that low concentrations of A-803467 selectively block “late” sodium current and shorten action potentials in mouse and rabbit cardiomyocytes. Exaggerated late sodium current is known to mediate arrhythmogenic early afterdepolarizations in heart, and these were similarly suppressed by low concentrations of A-803467.
SCN10A expression contributes to late sodium current in heart, and represents a new target for antiarrhythmic intervention.
SCN10A; sodium channels; heart; afterdepolarizations; arrhythmia
Marked prolongation of the QT interval and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia following medication (drug-induced long QT syndrome, diLQTS) is a severe adverse drug reaction (ADR) that phenocopies congenital long QT syndrome (cLQTS) and one of the leading causes for drug withdrawal and relabeling. We evaluated the frequency of rare non-synonymous variants in genes contributing to the maintenance of heart rhythm in cases of diLQTS using targeted capture coupled to next generation sequencing. Eleven of 31 diLQTS subjects (36%) carried a novel missense mutation in genes with known congenital arrhythmia associations or a known cLQTS mutation. In the 26 Caucasian subjects, 23% carried a highly conserved rare variant predicted to be deleterious to protein function in these genes compared with only 2-4% in public databases (p < 0.003). We conclude that rare variation in genes responsible for congenital arrhythmia syndromes is frequent in diLQTS. Our findings demonstrate that diLQTS is a pharmacogenomic syndrome predisposed by rare genetic variants.
pharmacogenomics; sudden cardiac death; adverse drug reaction; next generation sequencing
Obese patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are frequently managed with AF ablation. We sought to examine whether there exists a body mass index (BMI) threshold beyond which odds of experiencing a complication from AF ablation increase. All patients enrolled in the Vanderbilt AF Registry who underwent catheter-based AF ablation from May 1999 to February 2012 were included. Major complications were recorded. Morbid obesity was defined as BMI >40 kg/m2, and BMI as a continuous variable was examined in multivariable analysis. Thirty-five complications (6.8%) occurred in 512 ablations. Morbidly obese patients experienced a higher rate of complications (6/42, 14.3%) than non-morbidly obese (29/470, 6.2%) (P=0.046). Using a discrete BMI cut-off, the odds of complications increased 3.1-fold in those with morbid obesity (odds ratio [OR] 3.1, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.1–8.4, P=0.03) and 2.1-fold by female gender (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.04–4.38, P=0.04). With BMI as a continuous variable, the odds of complications increased by 5% per 1 unit increase in BMI (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.0–1.11, P=0.05) and there was a 2.2-fold increase by female gender (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1–4.6, P=0.03). In conclusion, morbid obesity represents a BMI threshold above which the odds of complications with AF ablation significantly increase. The increase in complications appears to be driven primarily by events in women suggesting that morbidly obese women are a special population to consider when considering AF ablation.
Atrial Fibrillation; Ablation; Obesity; Complications; Pulmonary Vein Isolation
Interindividual variation in response to metformin, first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes, is substantial. Given that transporters are determinants of metformin pharmacokinetics, we examined the effects of promoter variants in both multidrug and toxin extrusion protein 1 (MATE1) (g.−66T→C, rs2252281) and MATE2 (g.−130G→A, rs12943590) on variation in metformin disposition and response. The pharmacokinetics and glucose-lowering effects of metformin were assessed in healthy volunteers (n = 57) receiving metformin. The renal and secretory clearances of metformin were higher (22% and 26%, respectively) in carriers of variant MATE2 who were also MATE1 reference (P < 0.05). Both MATE genotypes were associated with altered post-metformin glucose tolerance, with variant carriers of MATE1 and MATE2 having an enhanced (P < 0.01) and reduced (P < 0.05) response, respectively. Consistent with these results, patients with diabetes (n = 145) carrying the MATE1 variant showed enhanced metformin response. These findings suggest that promoter variants of MATE1 and MATE2 are important determinants of metformin disposition and response in healthy volunteers and diabetic patients.
metformin; MATE1; MATE2; genetic polymorphism; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; glucose; healthy volunteers; type II diabetic patients; HbA1c
The Vanderbilt DNA repository, BioVU, links DNA from leftover clinical blood samples to de-identified electronic medical records. After initiating adult sample collection, pediatric extension required consideration of ethical concerns specific to pediatrics and implementation of specialized DNA extraction methods. In the first year of pediatric sample collection, over 11,000 samples were included from individuals younger than 18 years. We compared the pediatric BioVU cohort to the overall Vanderbilt University Medical Center pediatric population and found similar demographic characteristics; however, the BioVU cohort has higher rates of select diseases, medication exposures, and laboratory testing, demonstrating enriched representation of severe or chronic disease. This unbalanced sample accumulation may accelerate research of some cohorts, but also may limit study of relatively benign conditions and the accrual of unaffected and unbiased control samples. BioVU represents a feasible model for pediatric DNA biobanking but involves both ethical and practical considerations specific to the pediatric population.
Pediatrics; Biological Specimen Banks
Despite a greater burden of traditional risk factors, atrial fibrillation (AF) is less common among black than whites for reasons that are unclear. We have examined race- and gender-specific influences of demographic, lifestyle, anthropometric and medical factors on AF in a large cohort of blacks and whites. Among white and black participants in the Southern Community Cohort Study age 65 and older receiving Medicare coverage from 1999–2008 (n=8,836), we ascertained diagnoses of AF (ICD-9 CM 427.3). Multivariate logistic regression was used to compute AF odds ratios (ORs) associated with participant characteristics, including histories of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and myocardial infarction/coronary artery bypass graft surgery, ascertained at cohort entry. Over an average of 5.7 years of Medicare coverage, AF was diagnosed among 1,062 participants. AF prevalence was significantly lower among blacks (11%) than whites (15%; P<.0001). ORs for AF rose with age, were higher among men, the tall and obese, and among persons with each of the comorbid conditions, but the AF deficit among blacks compared with whites persisted upon adjustment for these factors (OR=0.64, 95% CI 0.55–0.73). The patterns of AF risk were similar for blacks and whites, although associations with hypertension, diabetes and stroke were somewhat stronger among blacks. In conclusion, these findings confirm the lower prevalence of AF among blacks than whites and suggest that traditional risk factors for AF apply similarly to both groups and thus do not appear to explain the AF paradox in blacks.
Atrial fibrillation; epidemiology; risk factor; black; white
The Kir 6.1 Katp channel is believed to play an important role in ventricular repolarization as determined from both functional and genetic studies of the potassium inwardly-rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 8 (KCNJ8)-S422L missense mutation in patients with J-wave syndromes. Although Kir6.1 is also present in atrial tissue, it is unknown whether this channel modulates atrial repolarization and hence whether the S422L mutation portends a greater risk of atrial arrhythmias. This study sought to examine whether there was an increased frequency of the KCNJ8-S422L mutation among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and early repolarization (ER) as a possible novel susceptibility gene for AF.
Methods and results
A total of 325 lone AF probands were identified from the Vanderbilt AF Registry, a collection of clinical data and DNA from consented, consecutively enrolled participants. The coding regions of KCNJ8 were sequenced, and the patient's presenting electrocardiogram (ECG) was reviewed by two independent physicians for ER abnormalities. The KCNJ8-S422L mutation was identified in two AF probands while no other candidate gene variants were identified in these cases. Twenty-two (7%) patients were found to have ER on the ECG, including the two probands carrying the S422L variant. In one small AF kindred, the S422L variant co-segregated with AF and ER.
The KCNJ8-S422L variant is associated with both increased AF susceptibility and ER indicating a role for Kir 6.1 Katp channel in both ventricular and atrial repolarization.
Atrial fibrillation; Early repolarization; KCNJ8; Kir6.1; Mutation
Routine integration of genotype data into drug decision-making could improve patient safety, particularly if many relevant genetic variants can be assayed simultaneously before target drug prescribing. The frequency of pharmacogenetic prescribing opportunities and the potential adverse events (AE) mitigated are unknown. We examined the frequency with which 56 medications with known outcomes influenced by variant alleles were prescribed in a cohort of 52,942 medical home patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Within a five-year window, we estimated that 64.8% (95% CI: 64.4%-65.2%) of individuals were exposed to at least one medication with an established pharmacogenetic association. Using previously published results for six medications with well-characterized, severe genetically-linked AEs, we estimated that 398 events (95% CI, 225 - 583) could have been prevented with an effective preemptive genotyping program. Our results suggest that multiplexed, preemptive genotyping may represent an efficient alternative approach to current single use (“reactive”) methods and may improve safety.
Although multiple lines of evidence suggest variable expression of the cardiac sodium channel gene SCN5A plays a role in susceptibility to arrhythmia, little is known about its transcriptional regulation.
We used in silico and in vitro experiments to identify possible non-coding sequences important for transcriptional regulation of SCN5A. The results were extended to mice in which a putative regulatory region was deleted.
Methods and Results
We identified 92 non-coding regions highly conserved (>70%) between human and mouse SCN5A orthologs. Three conserved non-coding sequences (CNS) showed significant (>5-fold) activity in luciferase assays. Further in vitro studies indicated one, CNS28 in intron 1, as potential regulatory region. Using Recombinase-Mediated Cassette Exchange (RMCE), we generated mice in which a 435 bp region encompassing CNS28 was removed. Animals homozygous for the deletion showed significant increases in SCN5A transcripts, NaV1.5 protein abundance, and sodium current measured in isolated ventricular myocytes. ECGs revealed a significantly shorter QRS (10.7±0.2ms in controls vs. 9.7±0.2ms in knockouts) indicating more rapid ventricular conduction. In vitro analysis of CNS28 identified a short 3′ segment within this region required for regulatory activity and including an E-box motif. Deletion of this segment reduced reporter activity to 3.6±0.3% of baseline in CHO cells and 16±3% in myocytes (both P<0.05), and mutation of individual sites in the E-box restored activity to 62±4% and 57±2% of baseline in CHO cells and myocytes, respectively (both P<0.05).
These findings establish that regulation of cardiac sodium channel expression modulates channel function in vivo, and identify a non-coding region underlying this regulation.
Gene Expression Regulation; Sodium Channels; Mice; Transgenic
During the past few years, the development of effective, empirical technologies for treatment of cardiac arrhythmias has exceeded the pace at which detailed knowledge of the underlying biology has accumulated. As a result, although some clinical arrhythmias can be cured with techniques such as catheter ablation, drug treatment and prediction of the risk of sudden death remain fairly primitive. The identification of key candidate genes for monogenic arrhythmia syndromes shows that to bring basic biology to the clinic is a powerful approach. Increasingly sophisticated experimental models and methods of measurement, including stem cell-based models of human cardiac arrhythmias, are being deployed to study how perturbations in several biologic pathways can result in an arrhythmia-prone heart. The biology of arrhythmia is largely quantifiable, which allows for systematic analysis that could transform treatment strategies that are often still empirical into management based on molecular evidence.
Variable function and expression of drug transporters have been proposed as mechanisms contributing to variable response to drug therapy. Block of the HERG channel, encoding IKr, can lead to serious arrhythmias, and a key drug-blocking site in HERG has been identified on the intracellular face of the pore. We begin to advance the hypothesis that active drug uptake enhances IKr block.
Methods and Results
Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction identified expression in the human atrium and ventricle of 14 of 31 candidate drug uptake and efflux transporters, including OCTN1 (SLC22A4), a known uptake transporter of the HERG channel blocker quinidine. In situ hybridization and immunostaining localized OCTN1 expression to cardiomyocytes. The IC50 for quinidine block of IKr in CHO cells transfected with HERG alone was significantly higher than cells transfected with HERG + OCTN1 (0.66 ± 0.15 μM versus 0.14 ± 0.06 μM [52% absolute increase in drug block; 95% confidence interval, 0.4–0.64 μM]), and this effect was further potentiated by a common genetic variant of OCTN1, L503F. In the absence of OCTN1, quinidine block could be 91% ± 5% washed out, but with the transporter, washout was incomplete (57% ± 6%). OCTN1 coexpression also facilitated HERG block by flecainide and ibutilide, but not erythromycin.
Coexpression of the organic cation transporter, OCTN1, expressed in human cardiac myocytes, intensifies quinidine-induced HERG block. These findings establish a critical hypothesis that variable drug transporter activity may be a potential risk factor for torsade de pointes.
antiarrhythmia agents; arrhythmia; pharmacology; pharmacokinetics; ion channels
Female gender is a risk factor for long QT-related arrhythmias, but the underlying mechanisms remain uncertain. Here, we tested the hypothesis that gender-dependent function of the post-depolarization ‘late’ sodium current (INa-L) contributes.
Methods and results
Studies were conducted in mice in which the canonical cardiac sodium channel Scn5a locus was disrupted, and expression of human wild-type SCN5A cDNA substituted. Baseline QT intervals were similar in male and female mice, but exposure to the sodium channel opener anemone toxin ATX-II elicited polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in 0/9 males vs. 6/9 females. Ventricular INa-L and action potential durations were increased in myocytes isolated from female mice compared with those from males before and especially after treatment with ATX-II. Further, ATX-II elicited potentially arrhythmogenic early afterdepolarizations in myocytes from 0/5 male mice and 3/5 female mice.
These data identify variable late INa as a modulator of gender-dependent arrhythmia susceptibility.
Mouse; Late sodium current; Gender; Arrhythmias
We genotyped 326 “frequently medicated” individuals of European-descent in Vanderbilt’s biorepository linked to de-identified electronic medical records, BioVU, on the ADME Core Panel to assess quality and performance of the assay. We compared quality control metrics and determined the extent of direct and indirect marker overlap between the ADME Core Panel and the Illumina Omni1-Quad. We found the quality of the ADME Core Panel data to be high, with exceptions in select copy number variants (CNVs) and markers in certain genes (notably CYP2D6). Most of the common variants on the ADME panel are genotyped by the Omni1, but absent rare variants and CNVs could not be accurately tagged by single markers. Finally, our frequently medicated study population did not convincingly differ in allele frequency from reference populations, suggesting that heterogeneous clinical samples (with respect to medications) follow similar allele frequency distributions in pharmacogenetics genes as their appropriate reference populations.
ADME; pharmacogenomics; pharmacogenetics; BioVU; biorepository; CYP2D6; personalized medicine; precision medicine
To identify novel genetic loci influencing interindividual variation in red blood cell (RBC) traits in African-Americans, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 2315 individuals, divided into discovery (n = 1904) and replication (n = 411) cohorts. The traits included hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), RBC count, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). Patients were participants in the electronic MEdical Records and GEnomics (eMERGE) network and underwent genotyping of ~1.2 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms on the Illumina Human1M-Duo array. Association analyses were performed adjusting for age, sex, site, and population stratification. Three loci previously associated with resistance to malaria—HBB (11p15.4), HBA1/HBA2 (16p13.3), and G6PD (Xq28)—were associated (P ≤ 1 × 10−6) with RBC traits in the discovery cohort. The loci replicated in the replication cohort (P ≤ 0.02), and were significant at a genome-wide significance level (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined cohort. The proportions of variance in RBC traits explained by significant variants at these loci were as follows: rs7120391 (near HBB) 1.3% of MCHC, rs9924561 (near HBA1/A2) 5.5% of MCV, 6.9% of MCH and 2.9% of MCHC, and rs1050828 (in G6PD) 2.4% of RBC count, 2.9% of MCV, and 1.4% of MCH, respectively. We were not able to replicate loci identified by a previous GWAS of RBC traits in a European ancestry cohort of similar sample size, suggesting that the genetic architecture of RBC traits differs by race. In conclusion, genetic variants that confer resistance to malaria are associated with RBC traits in African-Americans.
red blood cell (RBC) traits; genome-wide association study; African-Americans; natural selection; informatics; electronic medical record
Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified numerous common polymorphisms associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). The 3 loci most strongly associated with AF occur at chromosome 4q25 (near PITX2), 16q22 (in ZFHX3), and 1q21 (in KCNN3).
To evaluate if timing of AF recurrence after direct current cardioversion (DCCV) is modulated by common AF susceptibility alleles.
208 patients (age 65±11 years, 77% men) with persistent AF underwent successful DCCV and were prospectively evaluated at 3, 6 and 12 months for AF recurrence. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): rs2200733 and rs10033464 at 4q25; rs7193343 in ZFHX3 and rs13376333 in KCNN3 were genotyped.
The final study cohort consisted of 184 patients. In 162 (88%) patients sinus rhythm was restored with DCCV, of which 108 (67%) had AF recurrence at a median of 60 (29 – 176) days. In multivariable analysis the presence of any common SNP (rs2200733, rs10033464) at the 4q25 locus was an independent predictor of AF recurrence, (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]:1.21–3.30, P=0.008). Furthermore, rs2200733 exhibited a graded allelic dose response for early AF recurrence (homozygous variants: 7 [4–56] days, heterozygous: 54 [28–135] days and wild type: 64 [29–180] days, P=0.03).
To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate whether genomic markers can predict timing of AF recurrence in patients undergoing elective DCCV. Our findings show that a common polymorphism on chromosome 4q25 (rs2200733) is an independent predictor of AF recurrence after DCCV and point to a potential role of stratification by genotype.
atrial fibrillation; direct current cardioversion; genetic predictors; recurrence
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most-common sustained arrhythmia observed in clinical practice, but response to therapy is highly variable between patients. Current drug therapies to suppress AF are incompletely and unpredictably effective and carry substantial risk of proarrhythmia and noncardiac toxicities. The limited success of therapy for AF is partially the result of heterogeneity of the underlying substrate, interindividual differences in disease mechanisms, and our inability to predict response to therapies in individual patients. In this Review, we discuss the evidence that variability in response to drug therapy is also conditioned by the underlying genetic substrate for AF. Increased susceptibility to AF is mediated through diverse genetic mechanisms, including modulation of the atrial action-potential duration, conduction slowing, and impaired cell-to-cell communication, as well as novel mechanisms, such as regulation of signalling proteins important in the pathogenesis of AF. However, the translation of genetic data to the care of the patients with AF has been limited because of poor understanding of the underlying mechanisms associated with common AF-susceptibility loci, a dearth of prospective, adequately powered studies, and the challenges associated with determining efficacy of antiarrhythmic drugs. What is apparent, however, is the need for appropriately designed, genotype-directed clinical trials.