International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 379–385 | Cite as

Influence of genetic modifiers on sudden cardiac death cases

  • Tina Jenewein
  • Thomas Neumann
  • Damir Erkapic
  • Malte Kuniss
  • Marcel A. Verhoff
  • Gerhard Thiel
  • Silke Kauferstein
Original Article


Sequence variants in the ion channel genes KCNH2 and SCN5A may cause the cardiac disorder long QT syndrome (LQTS). This disorder is associated with incomplete penetrance and variable expression in KCNH2- or SCN5A-mutation carriers. Common genetic variants, if associated with a mutation, may affect the severity of this cardiac disorder. This study identified rare mutations in the cardiac ion channel genes KCNH2 and SCN5A in a SCD case, as well as in a LQTS-affected family with a history of SCD. Moreover, common variants were found to occur together within the same genes. These findings support the concept that common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes encoding cardiac ion channels can directly modulate the functional effect of mutations and therefore enhance or weaken the risk of cardiac events.


Sudden death Molecular autopsy Inherited cardiac disease 



We thank the Foundation Forensisches Forum and the Feith Foundation for supporting this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

414_2017_1739_MOESM1_ESM.docx (245 kb)
Fig. S1 (DOCX 245 kb)
414_2017_1739_MOESM2_ESM.docx (124 kb)
Fig. S2 (DOCX 124 kb)
414_2017_1739_MOESM3_ESM.docx (79 kb)
Fig. S3 (DOCX 78 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Legal MedicineUniversity Hospital of Frankfurt, Goethe UniversityFrankfurt/MainGermany
  2. 2.Kerckhoff Heart and Thorax CenterBad NauheimGermany
  3. 3.Diakonie Klinikum GmbH, Jung-Stilling HospitalSiegenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Biology, Plant Membrane BiophysicsTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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