Identifying Novel Genes Related to Atrial Fibrillation Risk

By Patrick Zakka, MD - April 17, 2023

According to a study, published in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, the functions of aging that increase risks of atrial fibrillation development and progression are not fully understood. Researchers performed a weighted gene co-expression network analysis to seek key modules and gene hubs associated with aging-related atrial fibrillation.

The study’s lead author, Chuanbin Liu, reported the team identified 9 hub genes that may play central roles in the mechanisms of aging-related atrial fibrillation: PTGDS, COLQ, ASTN2, VASH1, RCAN1, AMIGO2, RBP1, MFAP4, and ALDH1A1. Of note, 6 of these genes were associated with atrial fibrillation for the first time in this study.

Novel Genes of Interest in Aging-Related Atrial Fibrillation

The authors conducted the weighted gene co-expression network analysis using the Gene Expression Omnibus atrial fibrillation dataset GSE2240, which included cardiac patients with atrial fibrillation or sinus rhythm. Researchers examined hub genes in clinical samples and verified their findings with Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes enrichment analyses.

Reportedly, the green and pink modules were the most critical that had an association with atrial fibrillation. Within those, investigators flagged 9 hub genes with potentially significant roles in atrial fibrillation pathophysiology among elderly patients. Additionally, 7 of the genes demonstrated strong diagnostic value.

In enrichment analyses, the green module was associated with the calcium, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, and peroxisome proliferator-activate receptors pathways, while the pink module had a potential association with the transforming growth factor beta signaling pathway in patients with myocardial fibrosis.

In closing, the authors summarized that “this study provided novel insights into the impact of aging on the occurrence and progression of AF, and identified biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for AF.”

Related: Predicting Atrial Fibrillation Based on Atrial Fibrosis

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