Genetik der dilatativen Kardiomyopathie


  • K.J. Osterziel
  • T. Scheffold
  • A. Perrot
  • R. Dietz


  • Zeitschrift fuer Kardiologie


  • Z Kardiol 90 (7): 461-469


  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is one of the leading causes of heart failure and a primary cause for heart transplantation in patients below the age of 40 years. Despite major advances in diagnostic procedures such as examination of myocardial biopsies, the etiology remains unknown in many patients. Chronic inflammation or myocarditis and chronic alcohol abuse are considered two main etiologic factors in dilated cardiomyopathy. A third causal factor, namely genetic transmission of the disease, is at least as common as myocardial inflammation or toxic damage. Several prospective studies of relatives of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy proved that about 25–30% of all cases are of familial etiology. The most common mode of inheritance is autosomal dominant. Less frequently is the disease inherited as an X-chromosomal trait. Autosomal recessive and mitochondrial transmission is rare. The penetrance is highly variable and age dependent. Many relatives of patients with DCM show only minor cardiac abnormalities and it is unknown whether they progress to full cardiomyopathy in later life. Examination of families has identified so far eight disease genes, namely the dystrophin, tafazzin, cardiac actin, desmin, lamin A/C, sarcoglycan, cardiac β-myosin heavy chain, and cardiac troponin T gene. Certain mutations in lamin A/C cause conduction system disease and dilated cardiomyopathy, whereas other mutations cause in addition skeletal muscle myopathy. Dystrophin mutations are the cause of the rare X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy without skeletal muscle involvement and a progressive course in young men. Other mutations in the dystrophin gene, mainly deletions, are the cause of the muscular dystrophy Becker and Duchenne which also present with dilated cardiomyopathy. Mutations of the desmin, sarcoglycan, the cardiac actin and β-myosin heavy chain as well as the troponin T gene are known to cause autosomal dominant- dilated cardiomyopathy without other abnormalities. The infantile X-linked DCM is caused by mutations of the tafazzin gene. The onset of the disease is typically within the first year of life and death occurs usually in childhood. Most patients may in addition be characterized by skeletal myopathy, short stature, neutropenia and abnormal mitochondria, also referred to as Barth syndrome. Knowledge of the DCM disease genes led to the new hypothesis that dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the myocardial force generation or force transmission. Many more disease loci are known but the responsible disease genes are not yet identified. Better understanding of the expression and function of disease genes may eventually result in new diagnostic and therapeutic tools in order to improve the prognosis of this severe disorder.