Two mutations have been implicated in the most common heart rhythm abnormality. The findings, reported in Nature, could boost our understanding of atrial fibrillation and suggest new directions for future therapeutics.
Atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm involving the upper two chambers of the heart, can cause life-threatening events such as heart failure and stroke. Daniel F. Gudbjartsson and colleagues conducted a genome-wide association scan in populations from around the globe, and found two mutations that lie adjacent to a gene known to be involved in early heart development. Each of the variants seems to contribute substantially to the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
The finding should help researchers understand the biological mechanisms that underpin atrial fibrillation, and may even help in the development of diagnostic tests that would allow early detection and may improve treatment.
Daniel Gudbjartsson (deCode Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Edward Farmer (Director of Corporate Communication, deCODE genetics Inc)
Berglind Olafsdottir (Communications, deCODE genetics Inc)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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