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Background: A large proportion of genetic risk remains unexplained for structural heart disease involving the interventricular septum (IVS) including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and ventricular septal defects. This study sought to develop a reproducible proxy of IVS structure from standard medical imaging, discover novel genetic determinants of IVS structure, and relate these loci to diseases of the IVS, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and ventricular septal defect. Methods: We estimated the cross-sectional area of the IVS from the 4-chamber view of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in 32 219 individuals from the UK Biobank which was used as the basis of genome wide association studies and Mendelian randomization. Results: Measures of IVS cross-sectional area at diastole were a strong proxy for the 3-dimensional volume of the IVS (Pearson r =0.814, P =0.004), and correlated with anthropometric measures, blood pressure, and diagnostic codes related to cardiovascular physiology. Seven loci with clear genomic consequence and relevance to cardiovascular biology were uncovered by genome wide association studies, most notably a single nucleotide polymorphism in an intron of CDKN1A (rs2376620; β, 7.7 mm 2 [95% CI, 5.8–11.0]; P =6.0×10 − 10 ), and a common inversion incorporating KANSL1 predicted to disrupt local chromatin structure (β, 8.4 mm 2 [95% CI, 6.3–10.9]; P =4.2×10 − 14 ). Mendelian randomization suggested that inheritance of larger IVS cross-sectional area at diastole was strongly associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy risk (p IVW =4.6×10 − 10 ) while inheritance of smaller IVS cross-sectional area at diastole was associated with risk for ventricular septal defect (p IVW =0.007). Conclusions: Automated estimates of cross-sectional area of the IVS supports discovery of novel loci related to cardiac development and Mendelian disease. Inheritance of genetic liability for either small or large IVS, appears to confer risk for ventricular septal defect or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, respectively. These data suggest that a proportion of risk for structural and congenital heart disease can be localized to the common genetic determinants of size and shape of cardiovascular anatomy.

Original publication




Journal article


Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine


Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)

Publication Date