Association of Variants in BAG3 with Cardiomyopathy Outcomes in African American Individuals

Valerie D. Myers, Glenn S. Gerhard, Dennis M. McNamara, Dhanendra Tomar, Muniswamy Madesh, Scott Kaniper, Frederick V. Ramsey, Susan G. Fisher, Roxann G. Ingersoll, Laura Kasch-Semenza, Jufang Wang, Karen Hanley-Yanez, Bonnie Lemster, Jessica A. Schwisow, Amrut V. Ambardekar, Seta H. Degann, Michael R. Bristow, Richard Sheppard, Jeffrey D. Alexis, Douglas G. TilleyChristopher D. Kontos, Joseph M. McClung, Anne L. Taylor, Clyde W. Yancy, Kamel Khalili, Jonathan G. Seidman, Christine E. Seidman, Charles F. McTiernan, Joseph Y. Cheung, Arthur M. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Importance: The prevalence of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is greater in individuals of African ancestry than in individuals of European ancestry. However, little is known about whether the difference in prevalence or outcomes is associated with functional genetic variants. Objective: We hypothesized that Bcl2-associated anthanogene 3 (BAG3) genetic variants were associated with outcomes in individuals of African ancestry with DCM. Design: This multicohort study of the BAG3 genotype in patients of African ancestry with dilated cardiomyopathy uses DNA obtained from African American individuals enrolled in 3 clinical studies: the Genetic Risk Assessment of African Americans With Heart Failure (GRAHF) study; the Intervention in Myocarditis and Acute Cardiomyopathy Trial-2 (IMAC-2) study; and the Genetic Risk Assessment of Cardiac Events (GRACE) study. Samples of DNA were also acquired from the left ventricular myocardium of patients of African ancestry who underwent heart transplant at the University of Colorado and University of Pittsburgh. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary end points were the prevalence of BAG3 mutations in African American individuals and event-free survival in participants harboring functional BAG3 mutations. Results: Four BAG3 genetic variants were identified; these were expressed in 42 of 402 African American individuals (10.4%) with nonischemic heart failure and 9 of 107 African American individuals (8.4%) with ischemic heart failure but were not present in a reference population of European ancestry (P <.001). The variants included 2 nonsynonymous single-nucleotide variants; 1 three-nucleotide in-frame insertion; and 2 single-nucleotide variants that were linked in cis. The presence of BAG3 variants was associated with a nearly 2-fold (hazard ratio, 1.97 [95% CI, 1.19-3.24]; P =.01) increase in cardiac events in carriers compared with noncarriers. Transfection of transformed adult human ventricular myocytes with plasmids expressing the 4 variants demonstrated that each variant caused an increase in apoptosis and a decrease in autophagy when samples were subjected to the stress of hypoxia-reoxygenation. Conclusions and Relevance: This study demonstrates that genetic variants in BAG3 found almost exclusively in individuals of African ancestry were not causative of disease but were associated with a negative outcome in patients with a dilated cardiomyopathy through modulation of the function of BAG3. The results emphasize the importance of biological differences in causing phenotypic variance across diverse patient populations, the need to include diverse populations in genetic cohorts, and the importance of determining the pathogenicity of genetic variants..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-938
Number of pages10
JournalJAMA Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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