Mechanisms of Disease: molecular genetics of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy

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SUMMARYArrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy is an inherited cardiomyopathy estimated to affect approximately 1 in 5,000 individuals. Cardinal manifestations include right ventricular enlargement and dysfunction, fibrofatty replacement of myocytes in the right ventricle, characteristic electrocardiographic abnormalities, and ventricular arrhythmia most commonly arising from the right ventricle. The disease is frequently familial and typically involves autosomal dominant transmission with low penetrance and variable expressivity. Approximately 50% of symptomatic individuals harbor a mutation in one of the five major components of the cardiac desmosome. Nevertheless, other genetic modifiers and environmental factors complicate the clinical management of mutation carriers as well as counseling of their relatives. This Review summarizes the known genetic mutations associated with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy, describes possible origins of recurrent mutations, presents theories on the pathogenesis of disease following a mutation, and discusses the current issues surrounding clinical use of genetic analysis in the assessment of individuals with this condition.

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