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Genetics of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: advances and pitfalls in molecular diagnosis and therapy

Authors Roma-Rodrigues C, Fernandes AR

Received 12 June 2014

Accepted for publication 27 July 2014

Published 3 October 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 195—208

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TACG.S49126

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Martin H. Maurer


Catarina Roma-Rodrigues,1 Alexandra R Fernandes1,2

1UCIBIO, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, Caparica, Portugal; 2Centro de Química Estrutural, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a primary disease of the cardiac muscle that occurs mainly due to mutations (>1,400 variants) in genes encoding for the cardiac sarcomere. HCM, the most common familial form of cardiomyopathy, affecting one in every 500 people in the general population, is typically inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, and presents variable expressivity and age-related penetrance. Due to the morphological and pathological heterogeneity of the disease, the appearance and progression of symptoms is not straightforward. Most HCM patients are asymptomatic, but up to 25% develop significant symptoms, including chest pain and sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death is a dramatic event, since it occurs without warning and mainly in younger people, including trained athletes. Molecular diagnosis of HCM is of the outmost importance, since it may allow detection of subjects carrying mutations on HCM-associated genes before development of clinical symptoms of HCM. However, due to the genetic heterogeneity of HCM, molecular diagnosis is difficult. Currently, there are mainly four techniques used for molecular diagnosis of HCM, including Sanger sequencing, high resolution melting, mutation detection using DNA arrays, and next-generation sequencing techniques. Application of these methods has proven successful for identification of mutations on HCM-related genes. This review summarizes the features of these technologies, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, current therapeutics for HCM patients are correlated with clinically observed phenotypes and are based on the alleviation of symptoms. This is mainly due to insufficient knowledge on the mechanisms involved in the onset of HCM. Tissue engineering alongside regenerative medicine coupled with nanotherapeutics may allow fulfillment of those gaps, together with screening of novel therapeutic drugs and target delivery systems.

Keywords: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, molecular diagnosis, sarcomere, next-generation sequencing, sudden cardiac death

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