RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Electrocardiographic characteristics and SCN5A mutations in idiopathic ventricular fibrillation associated with early repolarization.

BACKGROUND: Recently, we and others reported that early repolarization (J wave) is associated with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation. However, its clinical and genetic characteristics are unclear.

METHODS AND RESULTS: This study included 50 patients (44 men; age, 45 ± 17 years) with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation associated with early repolarization, and 250 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. All of the patients had experienced arrhythmia events, and 8 (16%) had a family history of sudden death. Ventricular fibrillation was inducible by programmed electric stimulation in 15 of 29 patients (52%). The heart rate was slower and the PR interval and QRS duration were longer in patients with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation than in controls. We identified nonsynonymous variants in SCN5A (resulting in A226D, L846R, and R367H) in 3 unrelated patients. These variants occur at residues that are highly conserved across mammals. His-ventricular interval was prolonged in all of the patients carrying an SCN5A mutation. Sodium channel blocker challenge resulted in an augmentation of early repolarization or development of ventricular fibrillation in all of 3 patients, but none was diagnosed with Brugada syndrome. In heterologous expression studies, all of the mutant channels failed to generate any currents. Immunostaining revealed a trafficking defect in A226D channels and normal trafficking in R367H and L846R channels.

CONCLUSIONS: We found reductions in heart rate and cardiac conduction and loss-of-function mutations in SCN5A in patients with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation associated with early repolarization. These findings support the hypothesis that decreased sodium current enhances ventricular fibrillation susceptibility.

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