Mutations in genes encoding cardiac ion channels previously associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are present with high frequency in new exome data

Can J Cardiol. 2013 Sep;29(9):1104-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2012.12.002. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Background: Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in the first 6 months after birth in the industrialized world. The genetic contribution to SIDS has been investigated intensively and to date, 14 cardiac channelopathy genes have been associated with SIDS. Newly published data from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grand Opportunity (NHLBI GO) Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) provided important knowledge on genetic variation in the background population. Our aim was to identify all variants previously associated with SIDS in ESP to improve the discrimination between plausible disease-causing mutations and variants most likely to be false-positive.

Methods: The PubMed database was searched to identify SIDS-associated channelopathy variants and the prevalence of these in the ESP population (6500 individuals) were obtained. In silico prediction tools were applied to variants present in ESP and 6 SIDS-associated variants (CAV3 p.C72W, p.T78M; KCNH2 p.R148W, and SCN5A p.S216L, p.V1951L, p.F2004L) were genotyped in our own control population.

Results: Nineteen different missense variants previously associated with SIDS were identified in ESP affecting 225 of 6424 alleles. This corresponds to 1:29 individuals in the ESP population being carriers of a SIDS-associated variant. Genotyping of 6 SIDS-associated variants in our own controls revealed frequencies comparable with those found in ESP.

Conclusions: A very high prevalence of previously SIDS-associated variants was identified in exome data from population studies. Our findings indicate that the suggested disease-causing role of some of these variants is questionable. A cautious interpretation of these variants must be made when found in SIDS victims.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / genetics
  • Caveolin 3 / genetics*
  • ERG1 Potassium Channel
  • Ether-A-Go-Go Potassium Channels / genetics*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Exome / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ion Channels / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • NAV1.5 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / genetics*
  • Prevalence
  • Sudden Infant Death / genetics*


  • CAV3 protein, human
  • Caveolin 3
  • ERG1 Potassium Channel
  • Ether-A-Go-Go Potassium Channels
  • Ion Channels
  • KCNH2 protein, human
  • NAV1.5 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • SCN5A protein, human