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Circulation. 1994 Dec;90(6):2635-44.

Evidence of genetic heterogeneity in Romano-Ward long QT syndrome. Analysis of 23 families.

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Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Houston, TX 77030.



The Romano-Ward long-QT Syndrome (LQTS) is an autosomal dominant inherited trait characterized by prolonged QT interval on ECG, life-threatening arrhythmias, syncope, and sudden death in affected individuals. A gene responsible for this disorder has been shown to be linked to the Harvey ras-1 locus (H-ras-1) DNA marker on the short arm of chromosome 11 (11p) in 7 families. The purpose of this study was to determine, by analyzing 23 families with LQTS for linkage to chromosome 11p, whether evidence exists for more than one gene causing LQTS (ie, locus heterogeneity).


Twenty-three families (262 family members) were clinically evaluated using medical histories, ECGs, and Holter recordings. Each corrected QT interval (QTc) were determined using Bazett's formula. Blood for DNA extraction and cell line immortalization was obtained after informed consent. Southern blotting and polymerase chain reaction were performed, and linkage analysis carried out using the LINKAGE computer program (v 5.03). Genetic heterogeneity was determined using the HOMOG 2 (v 2.51) computer program. Twenty-three families were studied for evidence of linkage to chromosome 11p using the H-ras-1 locus probe pTBB-2 and multiple flanking markers, including tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Two-point linkage analysis using pTBB-2 and TH markers was consistent with linkage in 15 of 23 families, with the maximum single-family LOD score of +3.038 occurring at theta = 0. However, 8 of 23 families had negative LOD scores, with the values in 4 families being less than -2 at theta = 0, consistent with exclusion of linkage. Analysis with the HOMOG program was consistent with genetic heterogeneity (P < .0001). Multipoint linkage data using pTBB-2 and TH were also examined for evidence of heterogeneity. HOMOG analysis of multipoint LOD scores from 100 cM surrounding the H-ras-1 locus also supported heterogeneity (P < .001).


In the 23 families with LQTS analyzed for linkage to the H-ras-1 locus on chromosome 11p15.5, 15 of 23 families had LOD scores consistent with linkage. The remaining 8 of 23 families had negative LOD scores, 4 of which were definitively excluded from linkage. Thus, genetic heterogeneity is definitively (P < .001) demonstrated for this disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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