Multiomic Profiling in Black and White Populations Reveals Novel Candidate Pathways in Left Ventricular Hypertrophy and Incident Heart Failure Specific to Black Adults

Circ Genom Precis Med. 2021 Jun;14(3):e003191. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003191. Epub 2021 May 21.


Background: Increased left ventricular (LV) mass is associated with adverse cardiovascular events including heart failure (HF). Both increased LV mass and HF disproportionately affect Black individuals. To understand the underlying mechanisms, we undertook a proteomic screen in a Black cohort and compared the findings to results from a White cohort.

Methods: We measured 1305 plasma proteins using the SomaScan platform in 1772 Black participants (mean age, 56 years; 62% women) in JHS (Jackson Heart Study) with LV mass assessed by 2-dimensional echocardiography. Incident HF was assessed in 1600 participants. We then compared protein associations in JHS to those observed in White participants from FHS (Framingham Heart Study; mean age, 54 years; 56% women).

Results: In JHS, there were 110 proteins associated with LV mass and 13 proteins associated with incident HF hospitalization with false discovery rate <5% after multivariable adjustment. Several proteins showed expected associations with both LV mass and HF, including NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide; β=0.04; P=2×10-8; hazard ratio, 1.48; P=0.0001). The strongest association with LV mass was novel: LKHA4 (leukotriene-A4 hydrolase; β=0.05; P=5×10-15). This association was confirmed on an alternate proteomics platform and further supported by related metabolomic data. Fractalkine/CX3CL1 (C-X3-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 1) showed a novel association with incident HF (hazard ratio, 1.32; P=0.0002). While established biomarkers such as cystatin C and NT-proBNP showed consistent associations in Black and White individuals, LKHA4 and fractalkine were significantly different between the two groups.

Conclusions: We identified several novel biological pathways specific to Black adults hypothesized to contribute to the pathophysiologic cascade of LV hypertrophy and incident HF including LKHA4 and fractalkine.

Keywords: continental population groups; heart failure; hospitalization; hypertrophy, left ventricular; proteomics.