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Researchers link gene mutations to Ebstein's anomaly
Date:2/16/2011

Ebstein's anomaly is a rare congenital valvular heart disease. Now, in patients with this disease, researchers of the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the University of Newcastle, UK and the Max Delbrck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have identified mutations in a gene which plays an important role in the structure of the heart. The researchers hope that these findings will lead to faster diagnosis and novel, more specifically targeted treatment methods (Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.110.957985)*.

Ebstein's anomaly is a heart defect in which the valve between the right ventricle and the right atrium is abnormally formed. Since the heart valve cannot close properly, heart function is compromised. Some patients with Ebstein's anomaly additionally suffer from a myocardial disease called left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC). This disease is associated with increased risk for sudden cardiac death or inadequate functioning of the heart muscle (myocardial insufficiency).

A few years ago in a study of LVNC patients, Prof. Ludwig Thierfelder and Dr. Sabine Klaassen (both MDC) discovered mutations in three different genes that encode muscle structural proteins. These proteins are important for heart contraction and for enabling the blood to be pumped through the body. One gene in which the MDC researchers identified mutations is the gene MYH7. Mutations in this gene in LVNC patients cause sponge-like muscle tissue to protrude into the left ventricle, thus impairing the contractile performance of the heart.

As a consequence of these findings, Dr. Alex V. Postma from Amsterdam, Professor Judith Goodship from Newcastle and PD Dr. Klaassen from the MDC sought to determine whether an association exists between Ebstein's anomaly, LVNC and mutations in the gene MYH7. In a multicenter study of cohorts from the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, they studied 141 Ebstein's pat
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Contact: Barbara Bachtler
bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
49-309-406-3896
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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