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Towards causally cohesive genotype–phenotype modelling for characterization of the soft-tissue mechanics of the heart in normal and pathological geometries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Oyvind Nordbo, Arne B. Gjuvsland, Anders Nermoen, Sander Land, Steven Alexander Niederer, Pablo Lamata de la Orden, Chul Joo Lee, Nicolas Peter Smith, Stig W. Omholt, Jon Olav Vik

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Of The Royal Society Interface
Issue number106
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

King's Authors


A scientific understanding of individual variation is key to personalized medicine, integrating genotypic and phenotypic information via computational physiology. Genetic effects are often context-dependent, differing between genetic backgrounds or physiological states such as disease. Here, we analyse in silico genotype–phenotype maps (GP map) for a soft-tissue mechanics model of the passive inflation phase of the heartbeat, contrasting the effects of microstructural and other low-level parameters assumed to be genetically influenced, under normal, concentrically hypertrophic and eccentrically hypertrophic geometries. For a large number of parameter scenarios, representing mock genetic variation in low-level parameters, we computed phenotypes describing the deformation of the heart during inflation. The GP map was characterized by variance decompositions for each phenotype with respect to each parameter. As hypothesized, the concentric geometry allowed more low-level parameters to contribute to variation in shape phenotypes. In addition, the relative importance of overall stiffness and fibre stiffness differed between geometries. Otherwise, the GP map was largely similar for the different heart geometries, with little genetic interaction between the parameters included in this study. We argue that personalized medicine can benefit from a combination of causally cohesive genotype–phenotype modelling, and strategic phenotyping that captures effect modifiers not explicitly included in the mechanistic model.

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