Epigenetic Modification of the Norepinephrine Transporter Gene in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
Objective—The postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) has multiple symptoms, chief among which are tachycardia, weakness, and recurrent blackouts while standing. Previous research has implicated dysfunction of the norepinephrine transporter. A coding mutation in the norepinephrine transporter gene (SLC6A2) sequence has been reported in 1 family kindred only. The goal of the present study was to further characterize the role and regulation of the SLC6A2 gene in POTS.
Methods and Results—Sympathetic nervous system responses to head-up tilt were examined by combining norepinephrine plasma kinetics measurements and muscle sympathetic nerve activity recordings in patients with POTS compared with that in controls. The SLC6A2 gene sequence was investigated in leukocytes from POTS patients and healthy controls using single nucleotide polymorphisms genotyping, bisulphite sequencing, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays for histone modifications and binding of the transcriptional regulatory complex, methyl-CpG binding protein 2. The expression of norepinephrine transporter was lower in POTS patients compared with healthy volunteers. In the absence of altered SLC6A2 gene sequence or promoter methylation, this reduced expression was directly correlated with chromatin modifications.
Conclusion—We propose that chromatin-modifying events associated with SLC6A2 gene suppression may constitute a mechanism of POTS.
- Received December 18, 2011.
- Accepted June 4, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.