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The William Harvey Research Institute - Barts and The London

Discovery of New Genes Modulating the Tpe Interval: an Electrocardiographic risk marker for Sudden Cardiac Death

Thirty-eight new gene regions that influence the Tpe interval, an electrocardiographic marker associated with susceptibility to malignant ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, have been discovered in the largest genetic study to date. 

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These findings estimate the Tpe interval at rest has a significant genetics contribution (heritability estimation of 16%), whereas the Tpe responses to exercise and recovery are more influenced by the environment (heritability estimations of ~2%)”.

Joint first author Julia Ramírez, from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), said: “The main biological processes of the loci we had identified were concordant with our hypotheses, as they involved key cardiovascular mechanisms, like ventricular repolarization and cardiac conduction and contraction”.

Stefan van Duijvenboden, joint first author from University College London (UCL), added: “The impact of these results is important, as they could identify new therapeutic targets to modulate the Tpe interval, and potentially prevent sudden cardiac death.”

The electrocardiogram signal reflects the electrical activity of the heart and the interval between the T-wave peak and the T-wave end (Tpe interval) measures the difference in repolarization times of the ventricular cells. A higher difference (i.e. longer Tpe interval) is associated with a higher susceptibility to suffering from malignant ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

This is work from the “Electrogenomics group” - a joint collaboration of investigators from QMUL (Julia Ramírez, William Young, Patricia Munroe and Andrew Tinker) and UCL (Stefan van Duijvenboden, Michele Orini and Pier Lambiase).

More information

Research publication: “Common Genetic Variants Modulate the Electrocardiographic Tpeak-to-Tend Interval”. Ramírez J & Van Duijvenboden S et al, American Journal of Human Genetics