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Genetic insights into resting heart rate and its role in cardiovascular disease.

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van de Vegte, Yordi J  ORCID logo
Eppinga, Ruben N 
van der Ende, M Yldau 
Hagemeijer, Yanick P  ORCID logo
Mahendran, Yuvaraj 


Resting heart rate is associated with cardiovascular diseases and mortality in observational and Mendelian randomization studies. The aims of this study are to extend the number of resting heart rate associated genetic variants and to obtain further insights in resting heart rate biology and its clinical consequences. A genome-wide meta-analysis of 100 studies in up to 835,465 individuals reveals 493 independent genetic variants in 352 loci, including 68 genetic variants outside previously identified resting heart rate associated loci. We prioritize 670 genes and in silico annotations point to their enrichment in cardiomyocytes and provide insights in their ECG signature. Two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses indicate that higher genetically predicted resting heart rate increases risk of dilated cardiomyopathy, but decreases risk of developing atrial fibrillation, ischemic stroke, and cardio-embolic stroke. We do not find evidence for a linear or non-linear genetic association between resting heart rate and all-cause mortality in contrast to our previous Mendelian randomization study. Systematic alteration of key differences between the current and previous Mendelian randomization study indicates that the most likely cause of the discrepancy between these studies arises from false positive findings in previous one-sample MR analyses caused by weak-instrument bias at lower P-value thresholds. The results extend our understanding of resting heart rate biology and give additional insights in its role in cardiovascular disease development.


Funder: Not applicable

Funder: NWO VENI grant 016.186.125


Humans, Cardiovascular Diseases, Risk Factors, Heart Rate, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Atrial Fibrillation, Mendelian Randomization Analysis, Genome-Wide Association Study, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide

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Nat Commun

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Wellcome Trust (100114/Z/12/Z)
Wellcome Trust (204623/Z/16/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/7)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/1)