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The SCN5A gene is implicated in many arrhythmogenic and cardiomyopathic processes. We identified a novel SCN5A variant in a family with significant segregation in individuals affected with progressive sinus and atrioventricular nodal disease, atrial arrhythmia, dilated cardiomyopathy, and early sudden cardiac arrest.
A patient pedigree was created following the clinical evaluation of three affected individuals, two monozygotic twins and a paternal half-brother, which lead to the evaluation of a paternal half-sister (four siblings with the same father and three mothers) all of whom experienced varying degrees of atrial arrhythmias, conduction disease, and dilated cardiomyopathy in addition to a paternal history of unexplained death in his 50s with similar autopsy findings. The index male underwent sequencing of 58 genes associated with cardiomyopathies. Sanger sequencing was used to provide data for bases with insufficient coverage and for bases in some known regions of genomic segmental duplications. All clinically significant and novel variants were confirmed by independent Sanger sequencing.
All relatives tested were shown to have the same SCN5A variant of unknown significance (p. Asp197His) and the monozygotic twins shared a co-occurring NEXN (p. Glu575*). Segregation analysis demonstrates likely pathogenic trait for the SCN5A variant with an additional possible role for the NEXN variant in combination.
There is compelling clinical evidence suggesting that the SCN5A variant p. Asp197His may be re-classified as likely pathogenic based on the segregation analysis of our family of interest. Molecular mechanism studies are pending.
Although persisting endothelial dysfunction has been established in the vasculature of patients following surgical repair of coarctation, it is unknown whether there are alterations in the cytoskeleton of the aorta in such patients. We compared staining of N-terminus dystrophin in the smooth muscle of the aortic wall of a patient with coarctation to that in a patient without coarctation, the latter undergoing surgical treatment of a double aortic arch. There was a marked difference in the pattern of expression of dystrophin between the two, with the coarcted specimen demonstrating marked fragmentation but normal intensity of staining. As far as we are aware, ours is the first report to demonstrate the presence of dystrophin in the smooth muscle of the aorta. Alterations in the cytoskeletal structure may account for underlying aberrations in endothelial function in such patients, and is a topic that warrants further investigation.
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