HCM Genetics Discovery by British Researchers

A recent discovery by British researchers sheds light on how a type of common genetic mutation – a so called “common variant” – influences the expression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy caused by mutation(s) in the cardiac sarcomere. 

How do Common Variants Impact Sarcomere Mutations?

This research, funded by the British Heart Foundation and spearheaded by Dr. Hugh Watkins of the University of Oxford, explains why some individuals with a particular sarcomere mutation develop a severe case of HCM, while their family members with the same mutation may develop only mild HCM symptoms or show no signs of the disease at all.  It also may explain why people who lack sarcomere mutations develop the disease.

The researchers compared the DNA of 2,780 people with HCM and 47,486 people without HCM and found that common variants acting in concert with rare sarcomere mutations determine whether a person will develop HCM. 

Common Variant HCM Not Hereditable

In addition, the researchers found that HCM attributable to common variants alone is unlikely to be passed on to future generations. This is good news for the children of HCM patients caused by common variants.

Watch your Blood Pressure

Lastly, this paper found that high diastolic blood pressure was associated with the development of  HCM caused by common variants. Hence, keeping blood pressure under control is something that patients can do to minimize their risk of developing HCM in the future.

A link to the study in Nature Genetics can be found here;
You can access a thorough summary by the British Heart Foundation here;
and you can find a short summary at Medical Xpress here.

Duchess Kate’s Sister, Pippa, Supports British HCM Charity

Pippa Middleton, who came to the public’s attention during the wedding of her sister Katherine to Prince William, has recently dedicated her efforts toward raising money for HCM genetic testing and research.  Middleton’s efforts are in honor of her late friend Miles Frost, who was lost to sudden cardiac arrest due to HCM in 2015. Frost’s father, British journalist and media personality David Frost, died from HCM just two years earlier in 2013, but this information was never communicated to the family.

The Miles Frost Fund, a partnership with the British Heart Foundation , helps families who have lost a member to a sudden death obtain genetic testing in order to learn if other family members are similarly affected. The Frost Fund also funds research by U.K.researchers working towards finding a cure for HCM.