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Mutations of the β myosin heavy chain gene in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: critical functional sites determine prognosis
  1. A Woo,
  2. H Rakowski,
  3. J C Liew,
  4. M-S Zhao,
  5. C-C Liew,
  6. T G Parker,
  7. M Zeller,
  8. E D Wigle,
  9. M J Sole
  1. Division of Cardiology, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A Woo, Division of Cardiology, Toronto General Hospital, EN12–218, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2C4;


Objectives: To assess patients with different types of mutations of the β myosin heavy chain (β MHC) gene causing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and to determine the prognosis of patients according to the affected functional domain of β MHC.

Design and setting: Cohort study of subjects referred to an HCM clinic at an academic hospital.

Patients: 70 probands from the HCM clinic were screened for mutations of the β MHC gene and 148 family members of the genotype positive probands were further assessed. The control group for the genetic studies consisted of 106 healthy subjects.

Main outcome measures: Direct DNA sequencing was used to screen 70 probands for mutations of the β MHC gene. Family members underwent genotypic and detailed clinical, ECG, and echocardiographic assessments. The survival of genotype positive subjects was evaluated according to the type of functional domain affected by the missense mutation and according to phenotypic characteristics.

Results: A mutation of the β MHC gene was detected in 15 of 70 probands (21%). Of 148 family members studied in these 15 families, 74 were identified with a β MHC defect. Eleven mutations were detected, including four novel mutations: Ala196Thr, Pro211Leu, Val404Leu, and Arg870Cys. Median survival was 66 years (95% confidence interval (CI) 64 to 77 years) in all affected subjects. There was a significant difference in survival between subjects according to the affected functional domain (p = 0.02). Significant independent predictors of decreased survival were the non-conservative (that is, associated with a change in the amino acid charge) missense mutations that affected the actin binding site (hazard ratio 4.4, 95% CI 1.6 to 11.8; p = 0.003) and those that affected the rod portion of β MHC (hazard ratio 4.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 19.4; p = 0.03). No phenotypic characteristics were associated with decreased survival or cardiovascular morbidity.

Conclusions: The type of β MHC functional domain affected by the missense mutation is predictive of overall prognosis in HCM.

  • cardiomyopathy
  • genetics
  • hypertrophy
  • molecular biology
  • myosin
  • CI, confidence interval
  • HCM, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • ICD, implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • LV, left ventricular
  • MHC, myosin heavy chain
  • MLVWT, maximum left ventricular wall thickness
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction

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