Evidence of heterogeneity by race/ethnicity in genetic determinants of QT interval.

Seyerle AA, Young AM, Jeff JM, Melton PE, Jorgensen NW, Lin Y, Carty CL, Deelman E, Heckbert SR, Hindorff LA, Jackson RD, Martin LW, Okin PM, Perez MV, Psaty BM, Soliman EZ, Whitsel EA, North KE, Laston S, Kooperberg C, Avery CL
Epidemiology 25 790-8 11/01/2014


BACKGROUND: QT interval (QT) prolongation is an established risk factor for ventricular tachyarrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. Previous genome-wide association studies in populations of the European descent have identified multiple genetic loci that influence QT, but few have examined these loci in ethnically diverse populations.

METHODS: Here, we examine the direction, magnitude, and precision of effect sizes for 21 previously reported SNPs from 12 QT loci, in populations of European (n = 16,398), African (n = 5,437), American Indian (n = 5,032), Hispanic (n = 1,143), and Asian (n = 932) descent as part of the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study. Estimates obtained from linear regression models stratified by race/ethnicity were combined using inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was evaluated using Cochran's Q test.

RESULTS: Of 21 SNPs, 7 showed consistent direction of effect across all 5 populations, and an additional 9 had estimated effects that were consistent across 4 populations. Despite consistent direction of effect, 9 of 16 SNPs had evidence (P < 0.05) of heterogeneity by race/ethnicity. For these 9 SNPs, linkage disequilibrium plots often indicated substantial variation in linkage disequilibrium patterns among the various racial/ethnic groups, as well as possible allelic heterogeneity.

CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasize the importance of analyzing racial/ethnic groups separately in genetic studies. Furthermore, they underscore the possible utility of trans-ethnic studies to pinpoint underlying casual variants influencing heritable traits such as QT.

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