Priscilla R Prestes, Francine Z Marques, Guillermo Lopez-Campos, Paul Lewandowski, Lea M D Delbridge, Fadi J Charchar, Stephen B Harrap

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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy thickens heart muscles reducing functionality and increasing risk of cardiac disease and morbidity. Genetic factors are involved, but their contribution is poorly understood. We used the hypertrophic heart rat (HHR), a unique normotensive polygenic model of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure to investigate the role of genes associated with monogenic human cardiomyopathy. We selected 42 genes involved in monogenic human cardiomyopathies to study: 1) DNA variants, by sequencing the whole-genome of 13-week old HHR and age-matched normal heart rat (NHR), its genetic control strain; 2) mRNA expression, by targeted RNA-sequencing in left ventricles of HHR and NHR at five ages (2-days old, 4-, 13-, 33- and 50-weeks old) compared to human idiopathic dilated data; and 3) microRNA expression, with rat microRNA microarrays in left ventricles of 2-days old HHR and age-matched NHR. We also investigated experimentally validated microRNA-mRNA interactions. Whole-genome sequencing revealed unique variants mostly located in non-coding regions of HHR and NHR. We found 29 genes differentially expressed in at least one age. Genes encoding desmoglein 2 (Dsg2) and transthyretin (Ttr) were significantly differentially expressed at all ages in the HHR, but only Ttr was also differentially expressed in human idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Lastly, only two microRNAs differentially expressed in the HHR were present in our comparison of validated microRNA-mRNA interactions. These two microRNAs interact with five of the genes studied. Our study shows that genes involved in monogenic forms of human cardiomyopathies may also influence polygenic forms of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date18 May 2018
Publication statusEarly online date - 18 May 2018

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