PubMed 24332150

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Title: Gene-environment interaction between SCN5A-1103Y and hypokalemia influences QT interval prolongation in African Americans: the Jackson Heart Study.

Authors: Ermeg L Akylbekova, John P Payne, Christopher Newton-Cheh, Warren L May, Ervin R Fox, James G Wilson, Daniel F Sarpong, Herman A Taylor, Joseph F Maher

Journal, date & volume: Am. Heart J., 2014 Jan , 167, 116-122.e1

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African-American ancestry, hypokalemia, and QT interval prolongation on the electrocardiogram are all risk factors for sudden cardiac death (SCD), but their interactions remain to be characterized. SCN5A-1103Y is a common missense variant, of African ancestry, of the cardiac sodium channel gene. SCN5A-1103Y is known to interact with QT-prolonging factors to promote ventricular arrhythmias in persons at high risk for SCD, but its clinical impact in the general African-American population has not been established.We genotyped SCN5A-S1103Y in 4,476 participants of the Jackson Heart Study, a population-based cohort of African Americans. We investigated the effect of SCN5A-1103Y, including interaction with hypokalemia, on QT interval prolongation, a widely-used indicator of prolonged myocardial repolarization and predisposition to SCD. We then evaluated the two sub-components of the QT interval: QRS duration and JT interval.The carrier frequency for SCN5A-1103Y was 15.4%. SCN5A-1103Y was associated with QT interval prolongation (2.7 milliseconds; P < .001) and potentiated the effect of hypokalemia on QT interval prolongation (14.6 milliseconds; P = .02). SCN5A-1103Y had opposing effects on the two sub-components of the QT interval, with shortening of QRS duration (-1.5 milliseconds; P = .001) and prolongation of the JT interval (3.4 milliseconds; P < .001). Hypokalemia was associated with diuretic use (78%; P < .001).SCN5A-1103Y potentiates the effect of hypokalemia on prolonging myocardial repolarization in the general African-American population. These findings have clinical implications for modification of QT prolonging factors, such as hypokalemia, in the 15% of African Americans who are carriers of SCN5A-1103Y.