Bio

Bio


I am a physician scientist with interests in myocardial disease, therapeutics and genomics. My background includes research training in both myocardial and skeletal muscle biology and genetics, cardiovascular phenotyping in mouse models and cell culture; single-cell phenotyping of cardiomyocytes and more recently iPS cell derived cardiomyocytes; and extensive development work in allele-specific silencing. I analyzed whole genome sequencing for clinically actionable rare and novel variants, first from a single patient and now from groups of inherited cardiomyopathy patients. In addition to my research training, I am a physician with interest and experience treating patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and other inherited cardiomyopathies. I have clinical training in medicine, cardiology, cardiovascular genetics, and advanced heart failure. I have extensive translational science experience, participating in several ongoing clinical trials for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, ATTR cardiac amyloidosis, and mechanical circulatory support. I am the executive director and adult medical director of Stanford’s new NIH-funded Center for Undiagnosed Diseases and have been an active participant in the start-up of the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. I co-developed a randomized, controlled trial of exercise in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients, the results of which are anticipated in 2016. As a junior investigator transitioning to independence, I continue pursuing projects and collaborations at the intersection of cardiovascular genetics, genomics, and clinical investigation.

Clinical Focus


  • Cardiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic, Familial
  • Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Mechanical Circulatory Support
  • Undiagnosed Diseases
  • Cardiovascular Genetics
  • Cardiac Amyloid
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathies
  • Muscular Dystrophy associated Cardiomyopathy
  • Myotonic Dystrophy associated Cardiomyopathy

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Adult Medical Director, Center for Undiagnosed Diseases at Stanford (2015 - Present)
  • Executive Director, Center for Undiagnosed Diseases at Stanford (2014 - Present)

Professional Education


  • Board Certification: Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology, American Board of Internal Medicine (2014)
  • Residency:Stanford University Hospital -Clinical Excellence Research Center (2007) CA
  • Fellowship:Stanford University School of Medicine (2013) CA
  • Fellowship:Stanford University School of Medicine (2012) CA
  • Medical Education:University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (2005) IL
  • Board Certification: Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (2012)
  • Board Certification: Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine (2008)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Williams College, History and Biology (1998)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Research into cardiomyopathy genetics, mechanisms, screening, and treatment. Current projects include investigating novel agents for treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, novel approaches to treatment of heart failure, quality of life and exercise in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, screening and genetics in competitive athletes, disease gene discovery in cardiomyopathy, methods to improve whole genome sequence analysis, methods to improve diagnosis of patients with undiagnosed diseases.

Clinical Trials


  • A Clinical Trial to Evaluate the HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System Not Recruiting

    The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and effectiveness of the HeartWare Ventricular Assist System in patients with chronic Stage D/NYHA Class IIIB/IV left ventricular failure who have received and failed optimal medical therapy, and who are ineligible for cardiac transplantation.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Philip Oyer, (650) 725-3820.

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  • Safety and Efficacy of Tafamidis in Patients With Transthyretin Cardiomyopathy Recruiting

    This study will investigate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of an oral dose of 20 mg or 80 mg tafamidis meglumine soft gel capsules in comparison to placebo and given once daily, in addition to standard of care, for 30 months in subjects diagnosed with transthyretin cardiomyopathy (familial and wild-type). The study is designed to assess the potential for benefit from treatment with tafamidis relative to placebo based on all-cause mortality and frequency of cardiovascular-related hospitalizations.

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  • Clinical and Genetic Evaluation of Individuals With Undiagnosed Disorders Through the Undiagnosed Diseases Network Not Recruiting

    Background: - Without an explanation for severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms, patients and their families are left in a state of unknown. The NIH helped create a network of medical research centers, called the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN), to provide care and answers for these individuals. Objectives: - To improve diagnosis and care for people with undiagnosed diseases. Eligibility: - People with undiagnosed diseases, and their relatives. Design: - Participants will travel to one of the UDN medical centers for a 5-day clinical and research visit. - As part of the visit, UDN healthcare providers may ask participants to have: - Clinically indicated tests and procedures performed including: - A physical exam - Blood and urine tests - A review of health and family history - X-rays and body scans - Surveys - Photographs of the face and body - A special diet to see if the body can handle the food without having a reaction, like vomiting - Video or voice recordings - Other tests and procedures to help reach a diagnosis - Research tests and procedures performed including: - A skin biopsy. For this, a small piece of skin will be taken. - Surveys - Other tests and procedures for research that may not be related to a diagnosis or treatment. - Most participants will be asked to give samples for genetic testing. - Participants may be contacted after their visit to discuss test results. They may also be contacted in the future for interviews and surveys. - Relatives of participants may be asked to give samples for genetic testing. They may be asked to have parts of their visit recorded and to have additional tests. They may also be contacted in the future for interviews and surveys. - Clinical and research information collected will be stored in a database. - Information and samples collected will be shared with others for research purposes.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

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  • A Study of ARRY-371797 in Patients With LMNA-Related Dilated Cardiomyopathy Recruiting

    This is a Phase 2 pilot study, involving a 48-week treatment period, designed to test the effectiveness of investigational study drug ARRY-371797 in treating patients with symptomatic genetic dilated cardiomyopathy due to a lamin A/C gene mutation, and to further evaluate the drug's safety. Approximately 12 patients from the US will be enrolled in this study.

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  • ENDEAVOUR: Phase 3 Multicenter Study of Revusiran (ALN-TTRSC) in Patients With Transthyretin (TTR) Mediated Familial Amyloidotic Cardiomyopathy (FAC) Recruiting

    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Revusiran (ALN-TTRSC) in patients with transthyretin (TTR) mediated Familial Amyloidotic Cardiomyopathy.

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  • Study of Exercise Training in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Recruiting

    The investigators propose a pilot randomized controlled trial to determine the safety and potential benefits of moderate intensity exercise in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The investigators hypotheses are that exercise parameters derived from a baseline cardiopulmonary exercise test will target an appropriately safe level of exercise intensity that will not cause significant arrhythmias or exacerbate symptoms and that exercise training for 4 months will result in significant improvements in peak oxygen consumption and quality of life, with neutral effects on the clinical characteristics.

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  • Study Evaluating the Safety, Tolerability and Preliminary Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of MYK-461 Recruiting

    The purpose of this study is to establish initial safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of MYK-461 in human subjects. This is a sequential group, single ascending (oral) dose study in NYHA Class I or II, clinically stable HCM patient volunteers aged 18-65 years.

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  • Effect of GS-6615 on Exercise Capacity in Subjects With Symptomatic Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Recruiting

    This study will evaluate the effect of GS-6615 on exercise capacity, quality of life, and safety and tolerability of GS-6615 in participants with symptomatic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

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  • Valsartan for Attenuating Disease Evolution In Early Sarcomeric HCM Recruiting

    The purpose of this trial is to determine whether treatment with valsartan will have beneficial effect in early hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) by assessing many domains that reflect myocardial structure, function and biochemistry.

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Teaching

Graduate and Fellowship Programs


Publications

All Publications


  • Clinical assessment incorporating a personal genome LANCET Ashley, E. A., Butte, A. J., Wheeler, M. T., Chen, R., Klein, T. E., Dewey, F. E., Dudley, J. T., Ormond, K. E., Pavlovic, A., Morgan, A. A., Pushkarev, D., Neff, N. F., Hudgins, L., Gong, L., Hodges, L. M., Berlin, D. S., Thorn, C. F., Sangkuhl, K., Hebert, J. M., Woon, M., Sagreiya, H., Whaley, R., Knowles, J. W., Chou, M. F., Thakuria, J. V., Rosenbaum, A. M., Zaranek, A. W., Church, G. M., Greely, H. T., Quake, S. R., Altman, R. B. 2010; 375 (9725): 1525-1535

    Abstract

    The cost of genomic information has fallen steeply, but the clinical translation of genetic risk estimates remains unclear. We aimed to undertake an integrated analysis of a complete human genome in a clinical context.We assessed a patient with a family history of vascular disease and early sudden death. Clinical assessment included analysis of this patient's full genome sequence, risk prediction for coronary artery disease, screening for causes of sudden cardiac death, and genetic counselling. Genetic analysis included the development of novel methods for the integration of whole genome and clinical risk. Disease and risk analysis focused on prediction of genetic risk of variants associated with mendelian disease, recognised drug responses, and pathogenicity for novel variants. We queried disease-specific mutation databases and pharmacogenomics databases to identify genes and mutations with known associations with disease and drug response. We estimated post-test probabilities of disease by applying likelihood ratios derived from integration of multiple common variants to age-appropriate and sex-appropriate pre-test probabilities. We also accounted for gene-environment interactions and conditionally dependent risks.Analysis of 2.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms and 752 copy number variations showed increased genetic risk for myocardial infarction, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. We discovered rare variants in three genes that are clinically associated with sudden cardiac death-TMEM43, DSP, and MYBPC3. A variant in LPA was consistent with a family history of coronary artery disease. The patient had a heterozygous null mutation in CYP2C19 suggesting probable clopidogrel resistance, several variants associated with a positive response to lipid-lowering therapy, and variants in CYP4F2 and VKORC1 that suggest he might have a low initial dosing requirement for warfarin. Many variants of uncertain importance were reported.Although challenges remain, our results suggest that whole-genome sequencing can yield useful and clinically relevant information for individual patients.National Institute of General Medical Sciences; National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute; National Human Genome Research Institute; Howard Hughes Medical Institute; National Library of Medicine, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health; Hewlett Packard Foundation; Breetwor Family Foundation.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000277655100025

    View details for PubMedID 20435227

  • Cost-Effectiveness of Preparticipation Screening for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE Wheeler, M. T., Heidenreich, P. A., Froelicher, V. F., Hlatky, M. A., Ashley, E. A. 2010; 152 (5): 276-W91

    Abstract

    Inclusion of 12-lead electrocardiography (ECG) in preparticipation screening of young athletes is controversial because of concerns about cost-effectiveness.To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of ECG plus cardiovascular-focused history and physical examination compared with cardiovascular-focused history and physical examination alone for preparticipation screening.Decision-analysis, cost-effectiveness model.Published epidemiologic and preparticipation screening data, vital statistics, and other publicly available data.Competitive athletes in high school and college aged 14 to 22 years.Lifetime.Societal.Nonparticipation in competitive athletic activity and disease-specific treatment for identified athletes with heart disease.Incremental health care cost per life-year gained.Addition of ECG to preparticipation screening saves 2.06 life-years per 1000 athletes at an incremental total cost of $89 per athlete and yields a cost-effectiveness ratio of $42 900 per life-year saved (95% CI, $21 200 to $71 300 per life-year saved) compared with cardiovascular-focused history and physical examination alone. Compared with no screening, ECG plus cardiovascular-focused history and physical examination saves 2.6 life-years per 1000 athletes screened and costs $199 per athlete, yielding a cost-effectiveness ratio of $76 100 per life-year saved ($62 400 to $130 000).Results are sensitive to the relative risk reduction associated with nonparticipation and the cost of initial screening.Effectiveness data are derived from 1 major European study. Patterns of causes of sudden death may vary among countries.Screening young athletes with 12-lead ECG plus cardiovascular-focused history and physical examination may be cost-effective.Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and the Breetwor Foundation.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000275329600002

    View details for PubMedID 20194233

  • Examining QRS amplitude criteria for electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy in recommendations for screening criteria in athletes. Journal of electrocardiology Singla, V., Jindal, A., Pargaonkar, V., Soofi, M., Wheeler, M., Froelicher, V. 2015; 48 (3): 368-372

    Abstract

    Current guidelines for interpretation of the ECGs of athletes recommend that isolated R and S wave amplitudes that exceed traditional criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy be accepted as a physiological response to exercise training. This is based on training and echocardiographic studies but not on long term follow up. Demonstration of the prognostic characteristics of the amplitude criteria in a non-athletic population could support the current guidelines.To evaluate the prognostic value of the R and S wave voltage criteria for electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy (ECG-LVH) in an ambulatory clinical population.The target population consisted of 20,903 ambulatory subjects who had ECGs recorded between 1987 and 1999 and were followed for cardiovascular death until 2013. During the mean follow up of 17years, there were 881 cardiovascular deaths.The mean age was 43±10, 91% were male and 16% were African American. Of the 2482 (12%) subjects who met the Sokolow-Lyon criteria, 241 (1.2%) subjects with left ventricular (LV) strain had an HR of 5.4 (95% CI 4.1-7.2, p<0.001), while 2241 (11%) subjects without strain had an HR of 1.4 (95% CI 1.2-1.8, p<0.001). Of the 4836 (23%) subjects who met the Framingham voltage criteria, 350 (2%) subjects with LV strain had an HR of 5.1 (95% CI 4.0-6.5, p<0.001), while 4486 (22%) subjects without strain had an HR of 1.1 (95% CI 0.9-1.3, p=0.26). The individual components of the Romhilt-Estes had HRs ranging from 1.4 to 3.6, with only the voltage component not being significant (HR 1.1, 95% CI 0.9-1.5, p=0.35).This study demonstrates that the R and S wave voltage criteria components of most of the original classification schema for electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy are not predictive of CV mortality. Our findings support the current guidelines for electrocardiographic screening of athletes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2014.12.012

    View details for PubMedID 25661864

  • Computerized Q wave dimensions in athletes and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients JOURNAL OF ELECTROCARDIOLOGY Bent, R. E., Wheeler, M. T., Hadley, D., Froelicher, V., Ashley, E., Perez, M. V. 2015; 48 (3): 362-367

    Abstract

    There is controversy regarding Q wave criteria for assessing risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in young athletes.The 12-lead ECGs from Preparticipation screening in healthy athletes and patients with HCM were studied retrospectively. All 12 leads were measured using the same automated ECG analysis program.There were a total of 225 HCM patients and 1124 athletes with 12-lead electrocardiograms available for analysis. Athletes were on average 20 years of age, 65% were male and 24% were African-American. Patients with HCM were on average 51 years of age, 56% were male and 5.8% were African-American. Q waves by either amplitude, duration or area criteria were more prevalent in males than females, in lateral leads than inferior and in HCM patients than athletes. The most striking difference in Q waves between the groups was in Limb lead I and in the females. Tall, skinny Q waves were rare in athletes and had the highest prevalence of only 3.7% in male HCM patients.Q waves are more common in males compared to females and in patients with HCM compared to athletes. Q waves of 30 ms or more in limb lead I appear to offer the greatest discriminatory value for separating patients with HCM from athletes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2015.01.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354343100013

    View details for PubMedID 25732098

  • Personalized preventive medicine: genetics and the response to regular exercise in preventive interventions. Progress in cardiovascular diseases Bouchard, C., Antunes-Correa, L. M., Ashley, E. A., Franklin, N., Hwang, P. M., Mattsson, C. M., Negrao, C. E., Phillips, S. A., Sarzynski, M. A., Wang, P., Wheeler, M. T. 2015; 57 (4): 337-346

    Abstract

    Regular exercise and a physically active lifestyle have favorable effects on health. Several issues related to this theme are addressed in this report. A comment on the requirements of personalized exercise medicine and in-depth biological profiling along with the opportunities that they offer is presented. This is followed by a brief overview of the evidence for the contributions of genetic differences to the ability to benefit from regular exercise. Subsequently, studies showing that mutations in TP53 influence exercise capacity in mice and humans are succinctly described. The evidence for effects of exercise on endothelial function in health and disease also is covered. Finally, changes in cardiac and skeletal muscle in response to exercise and their implications for patients with cardiac disease are summarized. Innovative research strategies are needed to define the molecular mechanisms involved in adaptation to exercise and to translate them into useful clinical and public health applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pcad.2014.08.005

    View details for PubMedID 25559061

  • Clinical interpretation and implications of whole-genome sequencing. JAMA-the journal of the American Medical Association Dewey, F. E., Grove, M. E., Pan, C., Goldstein, B. A., Bernstein, J. A., Chaib, H., Merker, J. D., Goldfeder, R. L., Enns, G. M., David, S. P., Pakdaman, N., Ormond, K. E., Caleshu, C., Kingham, K., Klein, T. E., Whirl-Carrillo, M., Sakamoto, K., Wheeler, M. T., Butte, A. J., Ford, J. M., Boxer, L., Ioannidis, J. P., Yeung, A. C., Altman, R. B., Assimes, T. L., Snyder, M., Ashley, E. A., Quertermous, T. 2014; 311 (10): 1035-1045

    Abstract

    Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is increasingly applied in clinical medicine and is expected to uncover clinically significant findings regardless of sequencing indication.To examine coverage and concordance of clinically relevant genetic variation provided by WGS technologies; to quantitate inherited disease risk and pharmacogenomic findings in WGS data and resources required for their discovery and interpretation; and to evaluate clinical action prompted by WGS findings.An exploratory study of 12 adult participants recruited at Stanford University Medical Center who underwent WGS between November 2011 and March 2012. A multidisciplinary team reviewed all potentially reportable genetic findings. Five physicians proposed initial clinical follow-up based on the genetic findings.Genome coverage and sequencing platform concordance in different categories of genetic disease risk, person-hours spent curating candidate disease-risk variants, interpretation agreement between trained curators and disease genetics databases, burden of inherited disease risk and pharmacogenomic findings, and burden and interrater agreement of proposed clinical follow-up.Depending on sequencing platform, 10% to 19% of inherited disease genes were not covered to accepted standards for single nucleotide variant discovery. Genotype concordance was high for previously described single nucleotide genetic variants (99%-100%) but low for small insertion/deletion variants (53%-59%). Curation of 90 to 127 genetic variants in each participant required a median of 54 minutes (range, 5-223 minutes) per genetic variant, resulted in moderate classification agreement between professionals (Gross κ, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.40-0.64), and reclassified 69% of genetic variants cataloged as disease causing in mutation databases to variants of uncertain or lesser significance. Two to 6 personal disease-risk findings were discovered in each participant, including 1 frameshift deletion in the BRCA1 gene implicated in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Physician review of sequencing findings prompted consideration of a median of 1 to 3 initial diagnostic tests and referrals per participant, with fair interrater agreement about the suitability of WGS findings for clinical follow-up (Fleiss κ, 0.24; P < 001).In this exploratory study of 12 volunteer adults, the use of WGS was associated with incomplete coverage of inherited disease genes, low reproducibility of detection of genetic variation with the highest potential clinical effects, and uncertainty about clinically reportable findings. In certain cases, WGS will identify clinically actionable genetic variants warranting early medical intervention. These issues should be considered when determining the role of WGS in clinical medicine.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2014.1717

    View details for PubMedID 24618965

  • Clinical Interpretation and Implications of Whole-Genome Sequencing JAMA-JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Dewey, F. E., Grove, M. E., Pan, C., Goldstein, B. A., Bernstein, J. A., Chaib, H., Merker, J. D., Goldfeder, R. L., Enns, G. M., David, S. P., Pakdaman, N., Ormond, K. E., Caleshu, C., Kingham, K., Klein, T. E., Whirl-Carrillo, M., Sakamoto, K., Wheeler, M. T., Butte, A. J., Ford, J. M., Boxer, L., Ioannidis, J. P., Yeung, A. C., Altman, R. B., Assimes, T. L., Snyder, M., Ashley, E. A., Quertermous, T. 2014; 311 (10): 1035-1044
  • Physical Activity and Other Health Behaviors in Adults With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY Reineck, E., Rolston, B., Bragg-Gresham, J. L., Salberg, L., Baty, L., Kumar, S., Wheeler, M. T., Ashley, E., Saberi, S., Day, S. M. 2013; 111 (7): 1034-1039

    Abstract

    The clinical expression of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HC) is undoubtedly influenced by modifying genetic and environmental factors. Lifestyle practices such as tobacco and alcohol use, poor nutritional intake, and physical inactivity are strongly associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and increased mortality in the general population. Before addressing the direct effect of such modifiable factors on the natural history of HC, it is critical to define their prevalence in this population. A voluntary survey, drawing questions in part from the 2007 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), was posted on the HC Association website and administered to patients with HC at the University of Michigan. Propensity score matching to NHANES participants was used. Dichotomous and continuous health behaviors were analyzed using logistic and linear regression, respectively, and adjusted for body mass index and propensity score quintile. Compared to the matched NHANES participants, the patients with HC reported significantly less alcohol and tobacco use but also less time engaged in physical activity at work and for leisure. Time spent participating in vigorous or moderate activity was a strong predictor of self-reported exercise capacity. The body mass index was greater in the HC cohort than in the NHANES cohort. Exercise restrictions negatively affected emotional well-being in most surveyed subjects. In conclusion, patients with HC are less active than the general United States population. The well-established relation of inactivity, obesity, and cardiovascular mortality might be exaggerated in patients with HC. More data are needed on exercise in those with HC to strike a balance between acute risks and the long-term health benefits of exercise.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.12.018

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316923700018

    View details for PubMedID 23340032

  • Abnormal Calcium Handling Properties Underlie Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Pathology in Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells CELL STEM CELL Lan, F., Lee, A. S., Liang, P., Sanchez-Freire, V., Nguyen, P. K., Wang, L., Han, L., Yen, M., Wang, Y., Sun, N., Abilez, O. J., Hu, S., Ebert, A. D., Navarrete, E. G., Simmons, C. S., Wheeler, M., Pruitt, B., Lewis, R., Yamaguchi, Y., Ashley, E. A., Bers, D. M., Robbins, R. C., Longaker, M. T., Wu, J. C. 2013; 12 (1): 101-113

    Abstract

    Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a prevalent hereditary cardiac disorder linked to arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. While the causes of HCM have been identified as genetic mutations in the cardiac sarcomere, the pathways by which sarcomeric mutations engender myocyte hypertrophy and electrophysiological abnormalities are not understood. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying HCM development, we generated patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) from a ten-member family cohort carrying a hereditary HCM missense mutation (Arg663His) in the MYH7 gene. Diseased iPSC-CMs recapitulated numerous aspects of the HCM phenotype including cellular enlargement and contractile arrhythmia at the single-cell level. Calcium (Ca(2+)) imaging indicated dysregulation of Ca(2+) cycling and elevation in intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](i)) are central mechanisms for disease pathogenesis. Pharmacological restoration of Ca(2+) homeostasis prevented development of hypertrophy and electrophysiological irregularities. We anticipate that these findings will help elucidate the mechanisms underlying HCM development and identify novel therapies for the disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2012.10.010

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313839500014

  • A public resource facilitating clinical use of genomes PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Ball, M. P., Thakuria, J. V., Zaranek, A. W., Clegg, T., Rosenbaum, A. M., Wu, X., Angrist, M., Bhak, J., Bobe, J., Callow, M. J., Cano, C., Chou, M. F., Chung, W. K., Douglas, S. M., Estep, P. W., Gore, A., Hulick, P., Labarga, A., Lee, J., Lunshof, J. E., Kim, B. C., Kim, J., Li, Z., Murray, M. F., Nilsen, G. B., Peters, B. A., Raman, A. M., Rienhoff, H. Y., Robasky, K., Wheeler, M. T., Vandewege, W., Vorhaus, D. B., Yang, J. L., Yang, L., Aach, J., Ashley, E. A., Drmanac, R., Kim, S., Li, J. B., Peshkin, L., Seidman, C. E., Seo, J., Zhang, K., Rehm, H. L., Church, G. M. 2012; 109 (30): 11920-11927

    Abstract

    Rapid advances in DNA sequencing promise to enable new diagnostics and individualized therapies. Achieving personalized medicine, however, will require extensive research on highly reidentifiable, integrated datasets of genomic and health information. To assist with this, participants in the Personal Genome Project choose to forgo privacy via our institutional review board- approved "open consent" process. The contribution of public data and samples facilitates both scientific discovery and standardization of methods. We present our findings after enrollment of more than 1,800 participants, including whole-genome sequencing of 10 pilot participant genomes (the PGP-10). We introduce the Genome-Environment-Trait Evidence (GET-Evidence) system. This tool automatically processes genomes and prioritizes both published and novel variants for interpretation. In the process of reviewing the presumed healthy PGP-10 genomes, we find numerous literature references implying serious disease. Although it is sometimes impossible to rule out a late-onset effect, stringent evidence requirements can address the high rate of incidental findings. To that end we develop a peer production system for recording and organizing variant evaluations according to standard evidence guidelines, creating a public forum for reaching consensus on interpretation of clinically relevant variants. Genome analysis becomes a two-step process: using a prioritized list to record variant evaluations, then automatically sorting reviewed variants using these annotations. Genome data, health and trait information, participant samples, and variant interpretations are all shared in the public domain-we invite others to review our results using our participant samples and contribute to our interpretations. We offer our public resource and methods to further personalized medical research.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1201904109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306992700018

    View details for PubMedID 22797899

  • DNA Sequencing Clinical Applications of New DNA Sequencing Technologies CIRCULATION Dewey, F. E., Pan, S., Wheeler, M. T., Quake, S. R., Ashley, E. A. 2012; 125 (7): 931-944
  • Phased Whole-Genome Genetic Risk in a Family Quartet Using a Major Allele Reference Sequence PLOS GENETICS Dewey, F. E., Chen, R., Cordero, S. P., Ormond, K. E., Caleshu, C., Karczewski, K. J., Whirl-Carrillo, M., Wheeler, M. T., Dudley, J. T., Byrnes, J. K., Cornejo, O. E., Knowles, J. W., Woon, M., Sangkuhl, K., Gong, L., Thorn, C. F., Hebert, J. M., Capriotti, E., David, S. P., Pavlovic, A., West, A., Thakuria, J. V., Ball, M. P., Zaranek, A. W., Rehm, H. L., Church, G. M., West, J. S., Bustamante, C. D., Snyder, M., Altman, R. B., Klein, T. E., Butte, A. J., Ashley, E. A. 2011; 7 (9)

    Abstract

    Whole-genome sequencing harbors unprecedented potential for characterization of individual and family genetic variation. Here, we develop a novel synthetic human reference sequence that is ethnically concordant and use it for the analysis of genomes from a nuclear family with history of familial thrombophilia. We demonstrate that the use of the major allele reference sequence results in improved genotype accuracy for disease-associated variant loci. We infer recombination sites to the lowest median resolution demonstrated to date (< 1,000 base pairs). We use family inheritance state analysis to control sequencing error and inform family-wide haplotype phasing, allowing quantification of genome-wide compound heterozygosity. We develop a sequence-based methodology for Human Leukocyte Antigen typing that contributes to disease risk prediction. Finally, we advance methods for analysis of disease and pharmacogenomic risk across the coding and non-coding genome that incorporate phased variant data. We show these methods are capable of identifying multigenic risk for inherited thrombophilia and informing the appropriate pharmacological therapy. These ethnicity-specific, family-based approaches to interpretation of genetic variation are emblematic of the next generation of genetic risk assessment using whole-genome sequencing.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002280

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295419100031

    View details for PubMedID 21935354

  • Interpretation of the Electrocardiogram of Young Athletes CIRCULATION Uberoi, A., Stein, R., Perez, M. V., Freeman, J., Wheeler, M., Dewey, F., Peidro, R., Hadley, D., Drezner, J., Sharma, S., Pelliccia, A., Corrado, D., Niebauer, J., Estes, M., Ashley, E., Froelicher, V. 2011; 124 (6): 746-757
  • Systems biology of heart failure, challenges and hopes CURRENT OPINION IN CARDIOLOGY Dewey, F. E., Wheeler, M. T., Ashley, E. A. 2011; 26 (4): 314-321

    Abstract

    Heart failure remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developed nations. Our current understanding of molecular pathways involved in heart failure reveals little of the multiscale biological systems at work. Here we consider recent advances in understanding the integrative multiscale biology, or systems biology, of heart failure and present a framework for future work in the area.Multiplexed assays of gene expression and the complex dynamics of protein-protein interactions in heart failure have illuminated key pathways important to myocardial adaptation. Modeling of complex systems has advanced to incorporate these dynamic data sources into networks that capture fundamental interactions on different biological scales. The complex syndrome of heart failure, like other complex disease syndromes, can be viewed as an emergent property of these multiscale systems.A comprehensive understanding of adaptive mechanisms in heart failure requires integration of multiple data sources on several biological scales. A combination of holistic systems biology approaches and traditional reductionist experimentation will be required for a nuanced understanding of this multifaceted disease process.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/HCO.0b013e328346597d

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291424400007

    View details for PubMedID 21478745

  • MOLECULAR AUTOPSY FOR SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH USING WHOLE GENOME SEQUENCING Dewey, F. E., Wheeler, M. T., Cordero, S., Perez, M. V., Pavlovic, A., Pushkarev, D., Freeman, J. V., Quake, S. R., Ashley, E. A. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2011: E1159-E1159
  • Gene Coexpression Network Topology of Cardiac Development, Hypertrophy, and Failure CIRCULATION-CARDIOVASCULAR GENETICS Dewey, F. E., Perez, M. V., Wheeler, M. T., Watt, C., Spin, J., Langfelder, P., Horvath, S., Hannenhalli, S., Cappola, T. P., Ashley, E. A. 2011; 4 (1): 26-U129

    Abstract

    Network analysis techniques allow a more accurate reflection of underlying systems biology to be realized than traditional unidimensional molecular biology approaches. Using gene coexpression network analysis, we define the gene expression network topology of cardiac hypertrophy and failure and the extent of recapitulation of fetal gene expression programs in failing and hypertrophied adult myocardium.We assembled all myocardial transcript data in the Gene Expression Omnibus (n=1617). Because hierarchical analysis revealed species had primacy over disease clustering, we focused this analysis on the most complete (murine) dataset (n=478). Using gene coexpression network analysis, we derived functional modules, regulatory mediators, and higher-order topological relationships between genes and identified 50 gene coexpression modules in developing myocardium that were not present in normal adult tissue. We found that known gene expression markers of myocardial adaptation were members of upregulated modules but not hub genes. We identified ZIC2 as a novel transcription factor associated with coexpression modules common to developing and failing myocardium. Of 50 fetal gene coexpression modules, 3 (6%) were reproduced in hypertrophied myocardium and 7 (14%) were reproduced in failing myocardium. One fetal module was common to both failing and hypertrophied myocardium.Network modeling allows systems analysis of cardiovascular development and disease. Although we did not find evidence for a global coordinated program of fetal gene expression in adult myocardial adaptation, our analysis revealed specific gene expression modules active during both development and disease and specific candidates for their regulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.110.941757

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287353200014

    View details for PubMedID 21127201

  • Effect of Gender on Computerized Electrocardiogram Measurements in College Athletes PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE Mandic, S., Fonda, H., Dewey, F., Vy-van Le, Stein, R., Wheeler, M., Ashley, E. A., Myers, J., Froelicher, V. F. 2010; 38 (2): 156-164

    Abstract

    Background Broad criteria for classifying an electrocardiogram (ECG) as abnormal and requiring additional testing prior to participating in competitive athletics have been recommended for the preparticipation examination (PPE) of athletes. Because these criteria have not considered gender differences, we examined the effect of gender on the computerized ECG measurements obtained on Stanford student athletes. Currently available computer programs require a basis for "normal" in athletes of both genders to provide reliable interpretation. Methods During the 2007 PPE, computerized ECGs were recorded and analyzed on 658 athletes (54% male; mean age, 19 +/- 1 years) representing 22 sports. Electrocardiogram measurements included intervals and durations in all 12 leads to calculate 12-lead voltage sums, QRS amplitude and QRS area, spatial vector length (SVL), and the sum of the R wave in V5 and S wave in V2 (RSsum). Results By computer analysis, male athletes had significantly greater QRS duration, PR interval, Q-wave duration, J-point amplitude, and T-wave amplitude, and shorter QTc interval compared with female athletes (all P < 0.05). All ECG indicators of left ventricular electrical activity were significantly greater in males. Although gender was consistently associated with indices of atrial and ventricular electrical activity in multivariable analysis, ECG measurements correlated poorly with body dimensions. Conclusion Significant gender differences exist in ECG measurements of college athletes that are not explained by differences in body size. Our tables of "normal" computerized gender-specific measurements can facilitate the development of automated ECG interpretation for screening young athletes.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000290808000025

    View details for PubMedID 20631475

  • Challenges in the clinical application of whole-genome sequencing LANCET Ormond, K. E., Wheeler, M. T., Hudgins, L., Klein, T. E., Butte, A. J., Altman, R. B., Ashley, E. A., Greely, H. T. 2010; 375 (9727): 1749-1751
  • Addition of the Electrocardiogram to the Preparticipation Examination of College Athletes CLINICAL JOURNAL OF SPORT MEDICINE Le, V., Wheeler, M. T., Mandic, S., Dewey, F., Fonda, H., Perez, M., Sungar, G., Garza, D., Ashley, E. A., Matheson, G., Froelicher, V. 2010; 20 (2): 98-105

    Abstract

    Although the use of standardized cardiovascular (CV) system-focused history and physical examination is recommended for the preparticipation examination (PPE) of athletes, the addition of the electrocardiogram (ECG) has been controversial. Because the impact of ECG screening on college athletes has rarely been reported, we analyzed the findings of adding the ECG to the PPE of Stanford athletes.For the past 15 years, the Stanford Sports Medicine program has mandated a PPE questionnaire and physical examination by Stanford physicians for participation in intercollegiate athletics. In 2007, computerized ECGs with digital measurements were recorded on athletes and entered into a database.Although the use of standardized CV-focused history and physical examination are recommended for the PPE of athletes, the addition of the ECG has been controversial. Because the feasibility and outcomes of ECG screening on college athletes have rarely been reported, we present findings derived from the addition of the ECG to the PPE of Stanford athletes. For the past 15 years, the Stanford Sports Medicine program has mandated a PPE questionnaire and physical examination by Stanford physicians for participation in intercollegiate athletics. In 2007, computerized ECGs with digital measurements were recorded on athletes and entered into a database.Six hundred fifty-eight recordings were obtained (54% men, 10% African-American, mean age 20 years) representing 24 sports. Although 68% of the women had normal ECGs, only 38% of the men did so. Incomplete right bundle branch block (RBBB) (13%), right axis deviation (RAD) (10%), and atrial abnormalities (3%) were the 3 most common minor abnormalities. Sokolow-Lyon criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) were found in 49%; however, only 27% had a Romhilt-Estes score of >or=4. T-wave inversion in V2 to V3 occurred in 7%, and only 5 men had abnormal Q-waves. Sixty-three athletes (10%) were judged to have distinctly abnormal ECG findings possibly associated with conditions including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy. These athletes were offered further testing but this was not mandated according to the research protocol.Six hundred fifty-three recordings were obtained (54% men, 7% African American, mean age 20 years), representing 24 sports. Although 68% of the women had normal ECGs, only 38% of the men did so. Incomplete RBBB (13%), RAD (10%), and atrial abnormalities (3%) were the 3 most common minor abnormalities. Sokolow-Lyon criteria for LVH were found in 49%; however, only 27% had a Romhilt-Estes score of >or=4. T-wave inversion in V2 to V3 occurred in 7% and only 5 men had abnormal Q-waves. Sixty-five athletes (10%) were judged to have distinctly abnormal ECG findings suggestive of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and/or biventricular hypertrophy. These athletes will be submitted to further testing.Mass ECG screening is achievable within the collegiate setting by using volunteers when the appropriate equipment is available. However, the rate of secondary testing suggests the need for an evaluation of cost-effectiveness for mass screening and the development of new athlete-specific ECG interpretation algorithms.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181d44705

    View details for Web of Science ID 000275481500005

    View details for PubMedID 20215891

  • A New Era in Clinical Genetic Testing for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH Wheeler, M., Pavlovic, A., deGoma, E., Salisbury, H., Brown, C., Ashley, E. A. 2009; 2 (4): 381-391

    Abstract

    Building on seminal studies of the last 20 years, genetic testing for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) has become a clinical reality in the form of targeted exonic sequencing of known disease-causing genes. This has been driven primarily by the decreasing cost of sequencing, but the high profile of genome-wide association studies, the launch of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and new legislative protection have also played important roles. In the clinical management of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, genetic testing is primarily used for family screening. An increasing role is recognized, however, in diagnostic settings: in the differential diagnosis of HCM; in the differentiation of HCM from hypertensive or athlete's heart; and more rarely in preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Aside from diagnostic clarification and family screening, use of the genetic test for guiding therapy remains controversial, with data currently too limited to derive a reliable mutation risk prediction from within the phenotypic noise of different modifying genomes. Meanwhile, the power of genetic testing derives from the confidence with which a mutation can be called present or absent in a given individual. This confidence contrasts with our more limited ability to judge the significance of mutations for which co-segregation has not been demonstrated. These variants of "unknown" significance represent the greatest challenge to the wider adoption of genetic testing in HCM. Looking forward, next-generation sequencing technologies promise to revolutionize the current approach as whole genome sequencing will soon be available for the cost of today's targeted panel. In summary, our future will be characterized not by lack of genetic information but by our ability to effectively parse it.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s12265-009-9139-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000284691000005

    View details for PubMedID 20559996

  • Mechanisms of exercise intolerance in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy AMERICAN HEART JOURNAL Le, V., Perez, M. V., Wheeler, M. T., Myers, J., Schnittger, I., Ashley, E. A. 2009; 158 (3): E27-E34

    Abstract

    To determine the relation between echocardiogram findings and exercise capacity in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).Sixty-three patients (48 +/- 15 years) were referred for cardiopulmonary testing and exercise echocardiography. They were classified by morphology: proximal (n = 11), reverse curvature (n = 32), apical (n = 7), and concentric HCM (n = 13). There were more women in proximal and reverse curvature groups. Proximal HCM patients were older. Maximal left ventricular thickness was highest in reverse curvature group. At peak exercise, concentric HCM achieved the lowest percent predicted maximal Vo2. Excluding apical group, no significant differences in gradient were noted between groups. Overall, no statistically significant correlation was found between peak Vo2, wall thickness, and gradient. Significant correlations were noted between peak Vo2 and indexed left atrial (LA) volume (r = -0.52), lateral E' (r = 0.50), and lateral E/E' ratio (r = -0.46). A multivariate model including age, lateral E', indexed LA volume, and mitral A wave explained 46% of the variance in peak Vo2 (P = .01).Lateral E' and indexed LA volume are negatively correlated with functional capacity. Although patients with concentric morphology achieved the lowest peak Vo2, wall thickness and gradient did not predict exercise capacity.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ahj.2009.06.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269641200027

    View details for PubMedID 19699847

  • A New Era in Clinical Genetic Testing for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy J Cardiovasc Translational Res Wheeler M, Pavlovic A, DeGoma E, Salisbury H, Brown C, Ashley EA 2009; 2 (4): 381-391
  • Addition of the Electrocardiogram to the Pre-participation Examination of College Athletes Le, V., Dewey, F., Perez, M., Wheeler, M., Mandic, S., Sungar, G., Ashley, E., Matheson, G., Froelicher, V. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2008: S835-S835
  • Reevaluating Dogma: Recapitulation of Fetal Gene Expression Programs in Heart Failure Dewey, F. E., Perez, M. V., Wheeler, M. T., Ashley, E. A. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2008: E64-E64
  • Genetics of Arrhythmia: Disease Pathways Beyond Ion Channels JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH Perez, M. V., Wheeler, M., Ho, M., Pavlovic, A., Wang, P., Ashley, E. A. 2008; 1 (2): 155-165

    Abstract

    Diseases of the electrical conduction system that lead to irregularities in cardiac rhythm can have morbid and often lethal clinical outcomes. Linkage analysis has been the principal tool used to discover the genetic mutations responsible for Mendelian arrhythmic disease. Although the majority of arrhythmias can be accounted for by mutations in genes encoding ion channels, linkage analysis has also uncovered the role of other gene families such as those encoding members of the desmosome. With a list of candidates in mind, mutational analysis has helped confirm the suspicion that proteins found in caveolae or gap junctions also play a role in arrhythmogenesis. Atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death are relatively common arrhythmias that may be caused by multiple factors including common genetic variants. Genome-wide association studies are already revealing the important and poorly understood role of intergenic regions in atrial fibrillation. Despite the great advancements that have been made in our understanding of the genetics of these diseases, we are still far from able to routinely use genomic data to make clinical management decisions. There remain several hurdles in the study of genetics of arrhythmia, including the costs of genotyping, the need to find large affected families for linkage analysis, or to recruit large numbers of patients for genome-wide studies. Novel techniques that incorporate epigenetic information, such as known gene-gene interactions, biologic pathways, and experimental gene expression, will need to be developed to better interpret the large amount of genetic data that can now be generated. The study of arrhythmia genetics will continue to elucidate the pathophysiology of disease, help identify novel therapies, and ultimately allow us to deliver the individualized medical therapy that has long been anticipated.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s12265-008-9030-4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000207734800012

    View details for PubMedID 20559910

  • Pharmacogenetics of Heart Failure: Evidence, Opportunities, and Challenges for Cardiovascular Pharmacogenomics JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH Wheeler, M. T., Ho, M., Knowles, J. W., Pavlovic, A., Ashley, E. A. 2008; 1 (1): 25-36

    Abstract

    Heart failure is a significant medical problem affecting more than five million people in the USA alone. Although clinical trials of pharmacological agents have demonstrated significant reductions in the relative risk of mortality across populations, absolute mortality remains high. In addition, individual variation in response is great. Some of this variation may be explained by genetic polymorphism. In this paper, we review the key studies to date in heart failure pharmacogenetics, setting this against a background of recent progress in the genetics of warfarin metabolism. Several polymorphisms that have supporting molecular and clinical data in the heart failure literature are reviewed, among them the beta1-adrenergic receptor variant Arg389Gly and the angiotensin converting enzyme gene insertion/deletion polymorphism. These variants and others are responsible for a fraction of the total variation seen in the treatment response to heart failure. With the dawn of the genomic age, further pharmacogenetic and new pharmacogenomic studies will advance our ability to tailor the treatment of heart failure.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s12265-007-9007-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000207734400008

    View details for PubMedID 20559955

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme genotype predicts cardiac and autonomic responses to prolonged exercise JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY Ashley, E. A., Kardos, A., Jack, E. S., Habenbacher, W., Wheeler, M., Kim, Y. M., Froning, J., Myers, J., Whyte, G., Froelicher, V., Douglas, P. 2006; 48 (3): 523-531

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction after ultraendurance exercise.Subclinical LV dysfunction in response to endurance exercise up to 24 h duration has been described, but its mechanism remains elusive.We tested 86 athletes before and after the Adrenalin Rush Adventure Race using echocardiography, impedance cardiography, and plasma immunoassay.At baseline, athletes demonstrated physiology characteristic of extreme endurance training. After 90 to 120 h of almost-continuous exercise, LV systolic and diastolic function declined (fractional shortening before the race, 39.6 +/- 0.65%; after, 32.2 +/- 0.84%, p < 0.001; mitral inflow E-wave deceleration time before the race, 133 +/- 5 ms; after, 160 +/- 5 ms, n = 48, p < 0.001) without change in loading conditions as defined by LV end-diastolic dimension and total peripheral resistance estimated by thoracic impedance. There was a compensatory increase in heart rate (before, 55 +/- 1.3 beats/min; after, 59 +/- 1.5 beats/min, p = 0.05), which left cardiac output unchanged, as well as significant-but-subclinical increases in brain natriuretic peptide and troponin I. In addition, we found that athletes who were homozygous for the intron-16 insertion polymorphism of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene exhibited a significantly greater decrease in fractional shortening than athletes who were homozygous for the deletion allele. Heterozygotes showed an intermediate phenotype. In addition, the deletion group manifest an enhanced sympathovagal balance after the race, as evidenced by greater power in the low-frequency component of blood pressure variability.The ACE genotype predicts the extent of reversible subclinical LV dysfunction after prolonged exercise and is associated with a differential postactivity augmentation of sympathetic nervous system function that may explain it.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2006.02.071

    View details for Web of Science ID 000239401500017

    View details for PubMedID 16875979

  • The interaction of coronary tone and cardiac fibrosis. Current atherosclerosis reports Wheeler, M. T., McNally, E. M. 2005; 7 (3): 219-226

    Abstract

    Regulation of coronary vascular tone is critical for proper perfusion and function of the myocardium. Many disease processes result in compromised regulation of coronary vascular tone and impaired myocardial perfusion. A common result of coronary vascular dysfunction is the development of areas of replacement fibrosis within the myocardium and surrounding the vasculature. Both intravascular processes, such as coronary atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction, and extravascular processes, including compromised myocardial metabolism, hormone excesses, and altered local signaling, may result in coronary vascular dysregulation. Coronary occlusion events, in turn, lead to myocardial damage and the activation of inflammatory cells and fibroblasts. The role of fibroblasts in regulating myocardial fibrosis and the contribution of myofibroblasts, cells that have limited contractile potential while retaining many of the extracellular matrix regulating processes of the fibroblast, may also contribute to the development of myocardial disease. In this review we examine the recent literature on myocardial fibrosis and myofibroblast activity, highlighting the effects of several classes of cardiovascular agents on the remodeling process.

    View details for PubMedID 15811257

  • Secondary coronary artery vasospasm promotes cardiomyopathy progression AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PATHOLOGY Wheeler, M. T., Korcarz, C. E., Collins, K. A., Lapidos, K. A., Hack, A. A., Lyons, M. R., Zarnegar, S., Earley, J. U., Lang, R. M., McNally, E. M. 2004; 164 (3): 1063-1071

    Abstract

    Genetic defects in the plasma membrane-associated sarcoglycan complex produce cardiomyopathy characterized by focal degeneration. The infarct-like pattern of cardiac degeneration has led to the hypothesis that coronary artery vasospasm underlies cardiomyopathy in this disorder. We evaluated the coronary vasculature of gamma-sarcoglycan mutant mice and found microvascular filling defects consistent with arterial vasospasm. However, the vascular smooth muscle sarcoglycan complex was intact in the coronary arteries of gamma-sarcoglycan hearts with perturbation of the sarcoglycan complex only within the adjacent myocytes. Thus, in this model, coronary artery vasospasm derives from a vascular smooth muscle-cell extrinsic process. To reduce this secondary vasospasm, we treated gamma-sarcoglycan-deficient mice with the calcium channel antagonist verapamil. Verapamil treatment eliminated evidence of vasospasm and ameliorated histological and functional evidence of cardiomyopathic progression. Echocardiography of verapamil-treated, gamma-sarcoglycan-null mice showed an improvement in left ventricular fractional shortening (44.3 +/- 13.3% treated versus 37.4 +/- 15.3% untreated), maximal velocity at the aortic outflow tract (114.9 +/- 27.9 cm/second versus 92.8 +/- 22.7 cm/second), and cardiac index (1.06 +/- 0.30 ml/minute/g versus 0.67 +/- 0.16 ml/minute/g, P < 0.05). These data indicate that secondary vasospasm contributes to the development of cardiomyopathy and is an important therapeutic target to limit cardiomyopathy progression.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000189164300031

    View details for PubMedID 14982859

  • Smooth muscle cell-extrinsic vascular spasm arises from cardiomyocyte degeneration in sarcoglycan-deficient cardiomyopathy JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Wheeler, M. T., Allikian, M. J., Heydemann, A., Hadhazy, M., Zarnegar, S., McNally, E. M. 2004; 113 (5): 668-675

    Abstract

    Vascular spasm is a poorly understood but critical biomedical process because it can acutely reduce blood supply and tissue oxygenation. Cardiomyopathy in mice lacking gamma-sarcoglycan or delta-sarcoglycan is characterized by focal damage. In the heart, sarcoglycan gene mutations produce regional defects in membrane permeability and focal degeneration, and it was hypothesized that vascular spasm was responsible for this focal necrosis. Supporting this notion, vascular spasm was noted in coronary arteries, and disruption of the sarcoglycan complex was observed in vascular smooth muscle providing a molecular mechanism for spasm. Using a transgene rescue strategy in the background of sarcoglycan-null mice, we replaced cardiomyocyte sarcoglycan expression. Cardiomyocyte-specific sarcoglycan expression was sufficient to correct cardiac focal degeneration. Intriguingly, successful restoration of the cardiomyocyte sarcoglycan complex also eliminated coronary artery vascular spasm, while restoration of smooth muscle sarcoglycan in the background of sarcoglycan-null alleles did not. This mechanism, whereby tissue damage leads to vascular spasm, can be partially corrected by NO synthase inhibitors. Therefore, we propose that cytokine release from damaged cardiomyocytes can feed back to produce vascular spasm. Moreover, vascular spasm feeds forward to produce additional cardiac damage.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI200420410

    View details for Web of Science ID 000189379500008

    View details for PubMedID 14991064

  • Functional nitric oxide synthase mislocalization in cardiomyopathy JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR CARDIOLOGY Heydemann, A., Huber, J. M., Kakkar, R., Wheeler, M. T., McNally, E. M. 2004; 36 (2): 213-223

    Abstract

    Mutations in the dystrophin glycoprotein complex, and in particular the sarcoglycan subcomplex, lead to cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy. Mice with mutations in gamma-sarcoglycan or delta-sarcoglycan develop cardiomyopathy that is characterized by focal regions of tissue damage. These focally damaged regions constitute 0-5% of cardiac tissue. In cardiomyopathy arising from sarcoglycan mutations, we found that endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) was significantly increased in focally damaged cardiac myocytes. In addition, we noted that nitric oxide (NO) was also increased in regions of tissue damage and altered membrane permeability. In sarcoglycan mutant mice, regionally increased cardiac NO was associated with hypersensitivity to carbachol and decreased sensitivity to adrenergic stimulation. Inhibition of NO production in sarcoglycan mutant mice was associated with improved recovery after carbachol and isoproterenol infusion. These data provide a mechanism where regional, focal cardiac damage creates pathologic gradients of NO. Moreover, inhibition of nitric oxide synthase corrects defects that arise from pathologic NO gradients.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2003.09.020

    View details for Web of Science ID 000189264800007

    View details for PubMedID 14871549

  • Sarcoglycans in vascular smooth and striated muscle TRENDS IN CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE Wheeler, M. T., McNally, E. M. 2003; 13 (6): 238-243

    Abstract

    Sarcoglycans are transmembrane proteins important in the maintenance of proper muscle function. Together, the sarcoglycans form a heteromeric complex that interacts with dystrophin, dystroglycan, and filamin C to form a mechanosignaling complex. Mutations in the genes encoding sarcoglycan can produce cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy. Studies of patients and animal models have emphasized the variability in penetrance and severity of cardiomyopathy. In animal models of sarcoglycan mutations, muscular dystrophy develops owing to loss of the sarcoglycan complex at the membrane of skeletal myocytes. Cardiomyopathy similarly develops with evidence of focal areas of degeneration and necrosis, as well as loss of sarcoglycan at the cardiomyocyte membrane. Vascular spasm has been noted as a feature of sarcoglycan-mediated cardiomyopathy. Recent evidence suggests that disruption of the smooth muscle sarcoglycan complex is not required for the development of vascular spasm and that vascular spasm arises from a vascular smooth muscle cell-extrinsic process.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000184950300005

    View details for PubMedID 12922020

  • Cytoskeletal defects in cardiomyopathy JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR CARDIOLOGY McNally, E., Allikian, M., Wheeler, M. T., Mislow, J. M., Heydemann, A. 2003; 35 (3): 231-241

    Abstract

    Genetic studies of cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy have emphasized the importance of the striated myocyte cytoskeleton. Cytoskeletal defects produce myopathies through a combination of structural and signaling mechanisms. Broadly, the cytoskeletal proteins defective in these myopathic syndromes can be classified into categories based on their intracellular locations. The first category includes proteins of the plasma membrane that interact with both subsarcolemmal and extracellular matrix proteins. The second category, generally associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathies, includes proteins of the sarcomere. The last, newly emerging, category includes proteins of the inner nuclear membrane. In this review, we will examine the genetic defects that lead to cardiomyopathy and the potential means by which these varied proteins normally maintain the structural integrity of myocytes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/S0022-2828(03)00018-X

    View details for Web of Science ID 000182212600002

    View details for PubMedID 12676538

  • zeta-Sarcoglycan, a novel component of the sarcoglycan complex, is reduced in muscular dystrophy HUMAN MOLECULAR GENETICS Wheeler, M. T., Zarnegar, S., McNally, E. M. 2002; 11 (18): 2147-2154

    Abstract

    The dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC) is found at the plasma membrane of muscle cells, where it provides a link between the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. A subcomplex within the DGC, the sarcoglycan complex, associates with dystrophin and mediates muscle membrane stability. Mutations in sarcoglycan genes lead to muscular dystrophy and cardiomyopathy in both humans and mice. In invertebrates, there are three sarcoglycan genes, while in mammals there are additional sarcoglycan genes that probably arose from gene duplication events. We identified a novel mammalian sarcoglycan, zeta-sarcoglycan, that is highly related to gamma-sarcoglycan and delta-sarcoglycan. We generated a zeta-sarcoglycan-specific antibody and found that zeta-sarcoglycan associated with other members of the sarcoglycan complex at the plasma membrane. Additionally, zeta-sarcoglycan was reduced at the membrane in muscular dystrophy, consistent with a role in mediating membrane stability. zeta-Sarcoglycan was also found as a component of the vascular smooth muscle sarcoglycan complex. Together, these data demonstrate that zeta-sarcoglycan is an integral component of the sarcoglycan complex and, as such, is important in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophy.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000177590700008

    View details for PubMedID 12189167

  • Episodic coronary artery vasospasm and hypertension develop in the absence of Sur2 K-ATP channels JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Chutkow, W. A., Pu, J. L., Wheeler, M. T., Wada, T., Makielski, J. C., Burant, C. F., McNally, E. M. 2002; 110 (2): 203-208

    Abstract

    K(ATP) channels couple the intracellular energy state to membrane excitability and regulate a wide array of biologic activities. K(ATP) channels contain a pore-forming inwardly rectifying potassium channel and a sulfonylurea receptor regulatory subunit (SUR1 or SUR2). To clarify the role of K(ATP) channels in vascular smooth muscle, we studied Sur2 gene-targeted mice (Sur2(-/-)) and found significantly elevated resting blood pressures and sudden death. Using in vivo monitoring, we detected transient, repeated episodes of coronary artery vasospasm in Sur2(-/-) mice. Focal narrowings in the coronary arteries were present in Sur2(-/-) mice consistent with vascular spasm. We treated Sur2(-/-) mice with a calcium channel antagonist and successfully reduced vasospastic episodes. The intermittent coronary artery vasospasm seen in Sur2(-/-) mice provides a model for the human disorder Prinzmetal variant angina and demonstrates that the SUR2 K(ATP) channel is a critical regulator of episodic vasomotor activity.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI200215672

    View details for Web of Science ID 000176872600011

    View details for PubMedID 12122112

  • Cardiomyopathy is independent of skeletal muscle disease in muscular dystrophy. FASEB journal Zhu, X., Wheeler, M. T., Hadhazy, M., Lam, M. J., McNally, E. M. 2002; 16 (9): 1096-1098

    Abstract

    Dystrophin and its associated proteins, the sarcoglycans, are normally expressed in heart and skeletal muscle. Mutations that alter the expression of these membrane-associated proteins lead to muscular dystrophy (MD) and cardiomyopathy in humans. Because of the timing and nature of the accompanying cardiomyopathy, it has been suggested that cardiomyopathy develops as a secondary consequence of skeletal muscle dysfunction in the muscular dystrophies. To determine whether skeletal muscle dystrophy contributes to the development of sarcoglycan-mediated cardiomyopathy, we used mice lacking gamma-sarcoglycan and inserted a transgene that "rescued" gamma-sarcoglycan expression only in skeletal muscle. Gamma-sarcoglycan was expressed in skeletal muscle under the control of the skeletal muscle-specific myosin light chain 1/3 promoter. Gamma-sarcoglycan-null mice expressing this transgene fully restore gamma-sarcoglycan expression. Furthermore, the transgene-rescued mice lack the focal necrosis and membrane permeability defects that are a hallmark of MD. Despite correction of the skeletal muscle disease, focal degeneration and membrane permeability abnormalities persisted in cardiac muscle, and notably persisted in the right ventricle. Therefore, heart and skeletal muscle defects are independent processes in sarcoglycan-mediated muscular dystrophies and, as such, therapy should target both skeletal and cardiac muscle correction to prevent sudden death due to cardiomyopathy in the muscular dystrophies.

    View details for PubMedID 12039854

  • Cardiomyopathy is independent of skeletal muscle disease in muscular dystrophy FASEB JOURNAL Zhu, X. L., Wheeler, M. T., Hadhazy, M., Lam, M. Y., McNally, E. M. 2002; 16 (7): 1096-?
  • The sarcoglycan complex in striated and vascular smooth muscle COLD SPRING HARBOR SYMPOSIA ON QUANTITATIVE BIOLOGY Wheeler, M. T., Allikian, M. J., Heydemann, A., McNally, E. M. 2002; 67: 389-397

    View details for Web of Science ID 000183780700049

    View details for PubMedID 12858564

  • Overexpression of gamma-sarcoglycan induces severe muscular dystrophy - Implications for the regulation of sarcoglycan assembly JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Zhu, X. L., Hadhazy, M., Groh, M. E., Wheeler, M. T., Wollmann, R., McNally, E. M. 2001; 276 (24): 21785-21790

    Abstract

    The sarcoglycan complex is found normally at the plasma membrane of muscle. Disruption of the sarcoglycan complex, through primary gene mutations in dystrophin or sarcoglycan subunits, produces membrane instability and muscular dystrophy. Restoration of the sarcoglycan complex at the plasma membrane requires reintroduction of the mutant sarcoglycan subunit in a manner that will permit normal assembly of the entire sarcoglycan complex. To study sarcoglycan gene replacement, we introduced transgenes expressing murine gamma-sarcoglycan into muscle of normal mice. Mice expressing high levels of gamma-sarcoglycan, under the control of the muscle-specific creatine kinase promoter, developed a severe muscular dystrophy with greatly reduced muscle mass and early lethality. Marked gamma-sarcoglycan overexpression produced cytoplasmic aggregates that interfered with normal membrane targeting of gamma-sarcoglycan. Overexpression of gamma-sarcoglycan lead to the up-regulation of alpha- and beta-sarcoglycan. These data suggest that increased gamma-sarcoglycan and/or mislocalization of gamma-sarcoglycan to the cytoplasm is sufficient to induce muscle damage and provides a new model of muscular dystrophy that highlights the importance of this protein in the assembly, function, and downstream signaling of the sarcoglycan complex. Most importantly, gene dosage and promoter strength should be given serious consideration in replacement gene therapy to ensure safety in human clinical trials.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000169297900129

    View details for PubMedID 11287429

  • Cardiomyopathy in animal models of muscular dystrophy CURRENT OPINION IN CARDIOLOGY Heydemann, A., Wheeler, M. T., McNally, E. M. 2001; 16 (3): 211-217

    Abstract

    Arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy frequently accompany muscular dystrophy. In the last year, the cardiovascular consequences of muscular dystrophy gene mutations have been established through studies of murine models. These models have highlighted the potential role of primary defects in cardiac muscle as well as those secondary cardiovascular outcomes that arise from severe muscle disease. This review focuses on three areas. Recent studies using mouse models have shown that the dystrophin-associated proteins, the sarcoglycans and alpha-dystrobrevin, are critical for both cardiac and skeletal muscle membrane function, yet may exert their roles by different molecular mechanisms. New findings have shown that cytoskeletal proteins at the nuclear membrane, such as emerin and lamin AC, cause muscular dystrophy and cardiomyopathy with cardiac conduction system disease. Finally, the mechanism of cardiac and muscle degeneration in myotonic dystrophy has been re-evaluated through a series of studies using murine models. Implications for human therapy are considered in light of these new findings.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000169006500009

    View details for PubMedID 11357018

  • An E-box within the MHC IIB gene is bound by MyoD and is required for gene expression in fast muscle AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-CELL PHYSIOLOGY Wheeler, M. T., Snyder, E. C., Patterson, M. N., Swoap, S. J. 1999; 276 (5): C1069-C1078

    Abstract

    The myosin heavy chain (MHC) IIB gene is selectively expressed in skeletal muscles, imparting fast contractile kinetics. Why the MHC IIB gene product is expressed in muscles like the tibialis anterior (TA) and not expressed in muscles like the soleus is currently unclear. It is shown here that the mutation of an E-box within the MHC IIB promoter decreased reporter gene activity in the fast-twitch TA muscle 90-fold as compared with the wild-type promoter. Reporter gene expression within the TA required this E-box for activation of a heterologous construct containing upstream regulatory regions of the MHC IIB promoter linked to the basal 70-kDa heat shock protein TATA promoter. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays demonstrated that mutation of the E-box prevented the binding of both MyoD and myogenin to this element. In cotransfected C2C12 myotubes and Hep G2 cells, MyoD preferentially activated the MHC IIB promoter in an E-box-dependent manner, whereas myogenin activated the MHC IIB promoter to a lesser extent, and in an E-box-independent manner. A time course analysis of hindlimb suspension demonstrated that the unweighted soleus muscle activated expression of MyoD mRNA before the de novo expression of MHC IIB mRNA. These data suggest a possible causative role for MyoD in the observed upregulation of MHC IIB in the unweighted soleus muscle.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000080245000009

    View details for PubMedID 10329954

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