Background: Emerging evidence suggests that pediatric and adult dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) represent distinct diseases. Few diagnostic tools exist for pediatric cardiologists to assess clinical status and prognosis. We hypothesized that pediatric DCM would have a unique biomarker profile compared to adult DCM and controls. Methods: We utilized a DNA aptamer array (SOMAScan) to compare biomarker profiles between pediatric and adult DCM. We simultaneously measured 1310 plasma proteins and peptides from 39 healthy children (mean age 3 years, interquartile range (IQR) 1–14), 39 ambulatory subjects with pediatric DCM (mean age 2.7 years, IQR 1–13), and 40 ambulatory adults with DCM (mean age 53 years, IQR 46–63). Results: Pediatric and adult DCM patients displayed distinct biomarker profiles, despite similar clinical characteristics. We identified 20 plasma peptides and proteins that were increased in pediatric DCM compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Unbiased multidimensionality reduction analysis suggested previously unrecognized heterogeneity among pediatric DCM subjects. Biomarker profile analysis identified four subgroups of pediatric DCM with distinguishing clinical characteristics. Conclusions: These findings support the emerging concept that pediatric and adult DCM are distinct disease entities, signify the need to develop pediatric-specific biomarkers for disease prognostication, and challenge the paradigm that pediatric DCM should be viewed as a single disease. Impact: Pediatric and adult DCM patients displayed distinct biomarker profiles, despite similar clinical characteristics and outcomes.Our findings suggest that pediatric DCM may be a heterogeneous disease with various sub-phenotypes, including differing biomarker profiles and clinical findings.These data provide prerequisite information for future prospective studies that validate the identified pediatric DCM biomarkers, address their diagnostic accuracy and prognostic significance, and explore the full extent of heterogeneity amongst pediatric DCM patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-215
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2022


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