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Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 11;9(1):16515. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52969-x.

Association between the 4p16 genomic locus and different types of congenital heart disease: results from adult survivors in the UK Biobank.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, 94304, CA, USA.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, 94304, CA, USA. jpriest@stanford.edu.
3
Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, 94304, CA, USA. jpriest@stanford.edu.

Abstract

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in newborns and the leading cause of death in infancy, affecting nearly 1% of live births. A locus in chromosome 4p16, adjacent to MSX1 and STX18, has been associated with atrial septal defects (ASD) in multiple European and Chinese cohorts. Here, genotyping data from the UK Biobank was used to test for associations between this locus and congenital heart disease in adult survivors of left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (n = 164) and ASD (n = 223), with a control sample of 332,788 individuals, and a meta-analysis of the new and existing ASD data was performed. The results show an association between the previously reported markers at 4p16 and risk for either ASD or left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, with effect sizes similar to the published data (OR between 1.27-1.45; all p < 0.05). Differences in allele frequencies remained constant through the studied age range (40-70 years), indicating that the variants themselves do not drive lethal genetic defects. Meta-analysis shows an OR of 1.35 (95% CI: 1.25-1.46; p < 10-4) for the association with ASD. The findings show that the genetic associations with ASD can be generalized to adult survivors of both ASD and left ventricular lesions. Although the 4p16 associations are statistically compelling, the mentioned alleles confer only a small risk for disease and their frequencies in this adult sample are the same as in children, likely limiting their clinical significance. Further epidemiological and functional studies may elicit factors triggering disease in interaction with the risk alleles.

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