The genetic mutation involved would date back to 12th century Vikings
Physicians and researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal, CHU de Québec, Université Laval, and Hubrecht Institute have discovered a rare disease affecting both heart rate and intestinal movements. The disease, which has been named "Chronic Atrial Intestinal Dysrhythmia syndrome" (CAID), is a serious condition caused by a rare genetic mutation. This finding demonstrates that heart and guts rhythmic contractions are closely linked by a single gene in the human body, as shown in a study published on October 5, 2014 in Nature Genetics.
The research teams in Canada have also developed a diagnostic test for the CAID syndrome. "This test will identify with certainty the syndrome, which is characterized by the combined presence of various cardiac and intestinal symptoms," said Dr. Gregor Andelfinger, a pediatric cardiologist and researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine "The symptoms are severe, and treatments are very aggressive and invasive, added Dr. Philippe Chetaille, a pediatric cardiologist and researcher at the university hospital CHU de Québec." At cardiac level, patients suffer primarily from a slow heart rate, a condition which will require the implantation of a pacemaker for half of them, often as early as in their childhood. At digestive level, a chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction will often force patients to feed exclusively intravenously. Furthermore, many of them will also have to undergo bowel surgery.
Discovery of the CAID Syndrome
By analysing the DNA of patients of French-Canadian origin and a patient of Scandinavian origin showing both the cardiac and the gastrointestinal condition, the researchers were able to identify a mutation in the gene SGOL1 that is common to all of patients showing both profiles. "To lift any doubts concerning the role of the identified mutation, we also made sure it was ruled out in people showing only one of the profiles," said Dr. Andelfinger. Similarly, Dr. Jeroen Bakkers, at Hubrecht Institute, in The Netherlands, who also collaborated to the project, studied zebrafish with the same gene mutation "The mutated fish showed the same cardiac symptoms as humans, which confirms the causal role played by SGOL1", he continued.
A Transatlantic Founder effect The research team traced back the genealogy of eight patients of French-Canadian origin using the Quebec population BALSAC historical data base. They were able to identify a common ancestry dating back to the 17th century, more precisely a founder couple married in France in 1620. Molecular genetic tests also proved that the identified French-Canadian and the Swedish mutations share the same origin, suggesting the existence of a founder effect and the major role played by migration of populations. According to the investigators' calculations, the genetic legacy would date back to the 12th century, then following the migration route of the Vikings from Scandinavia to Normandy, then that of the settlers who migrated to New France in the 17th century.
An Unsuspected Role for SGOL1
The researchers believe that the mutation of SGOL1 acts mechanistically to reduce the protection of specific nerve and muscle cells in the gut and the heart, causing them to age prematurely due to an accelerated replication cycle. Their findings suggest an unsuspected role for SGOL1 in the heart's ability to maintain its rhythm throughout life. The specific role played by the gene and the impact of its mutation will take center stage in future investigations of the research group. Along with physicians and patients, the group hopes their understanding of the disease will help them identify new avenues for treatments specifically targeting the underlying genetic and molecular causes.
About the Study
The study "Mutations in a novel because SGOL1 cohesinopathy affecting heart and gut rhythm" was published in Nature Genetics on October 5, 2014. Funding for this project provided by the FORGE Canada Consortium, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Genomics Institute, Genome Quebec, Genome British Columbia, and André Foundation Nussia Aisenstadt, GO Foundation, Leducq Foundation and Association des pseudo-obstructions intestinales chroniques, France.
About the Researchers
Dr. Gregor Andelfinger, MD is a pediatric cardiologist at CHU Sainte-Justine, a researcher at Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center in the Fetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies axis, and Associate Research Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Université de Montréal. He also holds a Research Chair in cardiovascular genetics.
Dr. Philippe Chetaille, MD, MSc, is a pediatric cardiologist at CHU de Québec, an Associate Researcher at CHU de Québec Research Centre and a Full Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Université Laval
Dr. Jeroen Bakkers, PhD, is a senior principle investigator of the Cardiac Development and Genetics group at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Interviews and Filming Opportunities
Researchers, physicians, patients and parents are available for interviews on request.
William Raillant-Clark | Eurek Alert!
TSRI researchers develop new method to 'fingerprint' HIV
29.03.2017 | Scripps Research Institute
Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences