Is sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome in Southern China a cardiac sodium channel dysfunction disorder?

Chao Liu, David J. Tester, Yiding Hou, Wen Wang, Guoli Lv, Michael J. Ackerman, Jonathan C. Makielski, Jianding Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS) remains an enigma to both forensic pathologists and physicians. Previous epidemiological, clinical, and pilot genetic studies have implicated that SUNDS is most likely a disease allelic to Brugada syndrome (BrS). We have performed postmortem genetic testing to address the spectrum and role of genetic abnormalities in the SCN5A-encoded cardiac sodium channel and its several associated proteins in SUNDS victims from Southern China. Genomic DNA extracted from the blood samples of 123 medico-legal autopsy-negative SUNDS cases and 104 sex-, age- and ethnic-matched controls from Southern China underwent comprehensive amino acid coding region mutational analysis for the BrS associated genes SCN5A, SCN1B, SCN2B, SCN3B, SCN4B, MOG1, and GPD1-L using PCR and direct sequencing. We identified a total of 7 unique (4 novel) putative pathogenic mutations (all in SCN5A; V95I, R121Q [2 cases], R367H, R513H, D870H, V1764D, and S1937F) in 8/123 (6.5%) SUNDS cases. Three SCN5A mutations (V95I, R121Q, and R367H) have been previously implicated in BrS. An additional 8 cases hosted rare variants of uncertain clinical significance (SCN5A: V1098L, V1202M, R1512W; SCN1B: V138I [3 cases], T189M [2 cases]; SCN3B: A195T). There were no non-synonymous mutations found in SCN2B, SCN4B, MOG1, or GPD1-L. This first comprehensive genotyping for SCN5A and related genes in the Chinese Han population with SUNDS discovered 13 mutations, 4 of them novel, in 16 cases, which suggests cardiac sodium channel dysfunction might account for the pathogenesis of 7-13% of SUNDS in Southern China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Cardiac sodium channel β subunits
  • GPD1-L gene
  • MOG1 gene
  • SCN5A gene
  • Sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Is sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome in Southern China a cardiac sodium channel dysfunction disorder?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this