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Eur J Hum Genet. 2012 Aug;20(8):905-8. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.23. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

High prevalence of genetic variants previously associated with LQT syndrome in new exome data.

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  • 1The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Cardiac Arrhythmia, Copenhagen, Denmark.


To date, hundreds of variants in 13 genes have been associated with long QT syndrome (LQTS). The prevalence of LQTS is estimated to be between 1:2000 and 1:5000. The knowledge of genetic variation in the general population has until recently been limited, but newly published data from NHLBI GO Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) has provided important knowledge on this topic. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of previously LQTS-associated variants in ESP (5400 individuals), in order to identify possible false-positive LQTS variants. With this aim, we performed a search for previously published LQTS-associated variants in ESP. In addition, a PolyPhen-2 prediction was conducted, and the four most prevalent LQTS-associated variants with significant functional effects present in ESP were genotyped in a second control population. We identified 33 missense variants previously associated with LQTS in ESP. These 33 variants affected 173 alleles and this corresponded to a LQTS prevalence of 1:31 in the ESP population. PolyPhen-2 predicted 30% of the 33 variants present in ESP to be benign compared with 13% among LQTS-associated variants not present in ESP (P=0.019). Genotyping of the four variants KCNH2 P347S; SCN5A: S216L, V1951L; and CAV3 T78M in the control population (n=704) revealed prevalences comparable to those of ESP. Thus, we identified a much higher prevalence of previously LQTS-associated variants than expected in exome data from population studies. Great caution regarding the possible disease causation of some of these variants has to be taken, especially when used for risk stratification in family members.

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