© 2016 Duarte et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background Diastolic dysfunction is common in sickle cell disease (SCD), and is associated with an increased risk of mortality. However, the molecular pathogenesis underlying this development is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to identify a gene expression profile that is associated with diastolic function in SCD, potentially elucidating molecular mechanisms behind diastolic dysfunction development. Methods Diastolic function was measured via echocardiography in 65 patients with SCD from two independent study populations. Gene expression microarray data was compared with diastolic function in both study cohorts. Candidate genes that associated in both analyses were tested for validation in a murine SCD model. Lastly, genotyping array data from the replication cohort was used to derive cis-expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTLs) and genetic associations within the candidate gene regions. Results Transcriptome data from both patient cohorts implicated 7 genes associated with diastolic function, and mouse SCD myocardial expression validated 3 of these genes. Genetic associations and eQTLs were detected in 2 of the 3 genes, FUCA2 and IL18. Conclusions FUCA2 and IL18 are associated with diastolic function in SCD patients, and may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. Genetic polymorphisms within the FUCA2 and IL18 gene regions are also associated with diastolic function in SCD, likely by affecting expression levels of the genes.
Duarte, J. D., Desai, A. A., Sysol, J. R., Abbasi, T., Patel, A. R., Lang, R. M., … Machado, R. F. (2016). Genome-wide analysis identifies IL-18 and FUCA2 as novel genes associated with diastolic function in african americans with sickle cell disease. PLoS ONE, 11(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163013