Deleterious genetic variants in ciliopathy genes increase risk of ritodrine-induced cardiac and pulmonary side effects

BMC Med Genomics. 2018 Jan 24;11(1):4. doi: 10.1186/s12920-018-0323-4.


Background: Ritodrine is a commonly used tocolytic to prevent preterm labour. However, it can cause unexpected serious adverse reactions, such as pulmonary oedema, pulmonary congestion, and tachycardia. It is unknown whether such adverse reactions are associated with pharmacogenomic variants in patients.

Methods: Whole-exome sequencing of 13 subjects with serious ritodrine-induced cardiac and pulmonary side-effects was performed to identify causal genes and variants. The deleterious impact of nonsynonymous substitutions for all genes was computed and compared between cases (n = 13) and controls (n = 30). The significant genes were annotated with Gene Ontology (GO), and the associated disease terms were categorised into four functional classes for functional enrichment tests. To assess the impact of distributed rare variants in cases with side effects, we carried out rare variant association tests with a minor allele frequency ≤ 1% using the burden test, the sequence Kernel association test (SKAT), and optimised SKAT.

Results: We identified 28 genes that showed significantly lower gene-wise deleteriousness scores in cases than in controls. Three of the identified genes-CYP1A1, CYP8B1, and SERPINA7-are pharmacokinetic genes. The significantly identified genes were categorized into four functional classes: ion binding, ATP binding, Ca2+-related, and ciliopathies-related. These four classes were significantly enriched with ciliary genes according to SYSCILIA Gold Standard genes (P < 0.01), thus representing ciliary genes. Furthermore, SKAT showed a marginal trend toward significance after Bonferroni correction with Joubert Syndrome ciliopathy genes (P = 0.05). With respect to the pharmacokinetic genes, rs1048943 (CYP1A1) and rs1804495 (SERPINA7) showed a significantly higher frequency in cases than controls, as determined by Fisher's exact test (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively).

Conclusions: Ritodrine-induced cardiac and pulmonary side effects may be associated with deleterious genetic variants in ciliary and pharmacokinetic genes.

Keywords: Ciliopathy; Joubert syndrome; Pulmonary oedema; Ritodrine; Whole-exome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ciliopathies / genetics*
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / genetics
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control
  • Risk
  • Ritodrine / adverse effects*
  • Ritodrine / metabolism
  • Ritodrine / pharmacology
  • Young Adult


  • Ritodrine