Genetic associations with clozapine-induced myocarditis in patients with schizophrenia

Paul Lacaze, Kathlyn J Ronaldson, Eunice J Zhang, Ana Alfirevic, Hardik Shah, Leah Newman, Maya Strahl, Melissa Smith, Chad Bousman, Ben Francis, Andrew P Morris, Trevor Wilson, Fernando Rossello, David Powell, Vivien Vasic, Robert Sebra, John J McNeil, Munir Pirmohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clozapine is the most effective antipsychotic drug for schizophrenia, yet it can cause life-threatening adverse drug reactions, including myocarditis. The aim of this study was to determine whether schizophrenia patients with clozapine-induced myocarditis have a genetic predisposition compared with clozapine-tolerant controls. We measured different types of genetic variation, including genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), coding variants that alter protein expression, and variable forms of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) genes, alongside traditional clinical risk factors in 42 cases and 67 controls. We calculated a polygenic risk score (PRS) based on variation at 96 different genetic sites, to estimate the genetic liability to clozapine-induced myocarditis. Our genome-wide association analysis identified four SNPs suggestive of increased myocarditis risk (P < 1 × 10-6), with odds ratios ranging 5.5-13.7. The SNP with the lowest P value was rs74675399 (chr19p13.3, P = 1.21 × 10-7; OR = 6.36), located in the GNA15 gene, previously associated with heart failure. The HLA-C*07:01 allele was identified as potentially predisposing to clozapine-induced myocarditis (OR = 2.89, 95% CI: 1.11-7.53), consistent with a previous report of association of the same allele with clozapine-induced agranulocytosis. Another seven HLA alleles, including HLA-B*07:02 (OR = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.05-1.2) were found to be putatively protective. Long-read DNA sequencing provided increased resolution of HLA typing and validated the HLA associations. The PRS explained 66% of liability (P value = 9.7 × 10-5). Combining clinical and genetic factors together increased the proportion of variability accounted for (r2 0.73, P = 9.8 × 10-9). However, due to the limited sample size, individual genetic associations were not statistically significant after correction for multiple testing. We report novel candidate genetic associations with clozapine-induced myocarditis, which may have potential clinical utility, but larger cohorts are required for replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2020


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