Genetic influence on electrocardiogram time intervals and heart rate in aging mice

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009 Jun;296(6):H1907-13. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00681.2008. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


Understanding the genetic influence on ECG time intervals and heart rate (HR) is important for identifying the genes underlying susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmias. The objective of this study was to determine the genetic influence on ECG parameters and their age-related changes in mice. ECGs were recorded in lead I on 8 males and 8 females from each of 28 inbred strains at the ages of 6, 12, and 18 mo. Significant interstrain differences in the P-R interval, QRS complex duration, and HR were found. Age-related changes in the P-R interval, QRS complex duration, and HR differed among strains. The P-R interval increased with age in 129S1/SvlmJ females. The QRS complex duration decreased with age in C57BR/J males and DBA2/J females but increased in NON/ShiLtJ females. HR decreased in C57L/J females and SM/J and P/J males but increased in BALB/cByJ males. Differences between males and females were found for HR in SJL/J mice and in the P-R interval in 129S1/SvlmJ mice. Broad-sense heritability estimates of ECG time intervals and HR ranged from 0.31 for the QRS complex duration to 0.52 for the P-R interval. Heritability estimates decreased with age for the P-R interval. Our study revealed that genetic factors play a significant role on cardiac conduction activity and age-related changes in ECG time intervals and HR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / genetics*
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred A
  • Mice, Inbred AKR
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Phenotype
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Species Specificity