A polymorphic miR-155 binding site in AGTR1 is associated with cardiac hypertrophy in Friedreich ataxia

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2011 Nov;51(5):848-54. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Jul 12.


Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative condition with a heterogeneous cardiac phenotype caused primarily by an expanded GAA trinucleotide repeat in the frataxin gene (FXN). FXN is important in mitochondrial iron efflux, sensitivity to oxidative stress, and cell death. The number of GAA repeats on the smaller FXN allele (GAA1) only accounts for a portion of the observed variability in cardiac phenotype. Genetic modifying factors, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system (RAAS), may contribute to phenotype variability. This study investigated genetic variability in the angiotensin-II type-1 receptor (AGTR1), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), and ACE2 genes as cardiac phenotype modifying factors in FRDA patients. Comprehensive review of the AGTR1, ACE and ACE2 genes identified twelve haplotype tagging SNPs. Correlation of these SNPs with left ventricular internal diameter in diastole (LVIDd), interventricular septal wall thickness (SWT) and left ventricular mass (LVM) was examined in a large Australian FRDA cohort (n=79) with adjustments performed for GAA repeats, age, sex, body surface area and diastolic blood pressure. A significant inverse relationship was observed between GAA1 and LVIDd (p=0.010) but not with SWT or LVM after adjustment for covariates. The AGTR1 polymorphism rs5186 was more common in FRDA patients than in a control population (p=0.002). Using a recessive model of inheritance, the C allele of rs5186 was associated with a significant increase in SWT (p=0.003) and LVM (p=0.001). This functional polymorphism increases expression of AGTR1 by altering the binding site for miR-155, a regulatory microRNA. No significant associations with left ventricular structure were observed for the remaining RAAS polymorphisms. The AGTR1 polymorphism rs5186 appears to modify the FRDA cardiac phenotype independently of GAA1. This study supports the role of RAAS polymorphisms as modifiers of cardiac phenotype in FRDA patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Australia
  • Binding Sites
  • Blood Pressure
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Friedreich Ataxia / genetics*
  • Friedreich Ataxia / metabolism
  • Friedreich Ataxia / physiopathology
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / genetics*
  • Iron-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / chemistry
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / genetics
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion / genetics


  • Iron-Binding Proteins
  • MIRN155 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • frataxin
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2