An international group of researchers have identified a potential new genetic target for the treatment of lone atrial fibrillation (AF), a form of AF that occurs in people with no other known cardiovascular disorders
They discovered that variants in the gene for the potassium channel protein KCNN3 were linked with the disorder in patients who developed the condition before 66 years of age and who had no history of heart failure.
The study, led by Patrick Ellinor, M.D., Ph.D., at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiovascular Research Center and Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, involved a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies involving 1,335 individuals with lone AF and 12,844 unaffected controls. The results highlighted variants at the 1q21 locus cluster at KCNN3 (also known as SK3 and KCa2.3), a gene coding for a voltage-independent calcium-activated potassium channel.
Proteins in this family are expressed in a number of excitable tissues including the brain and heart, the authors note. The researchers then confirmed their findings through data from two separate genome-wide association studies involving another 1,000 lone AF patients and 3,500 controls.
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