Harry C Dietz

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia, United States

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Publications (238)2605.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) is a connective tissue disorder characterized by vascular and skeletal abnormalities resembling Marfan syndrome, including a predisposition for pathologic fracture. LDS is caused by heterozygous mutations in the genes encoding transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) type 1 and type 2 receptors. In this study, we characterized the skeletal phenotype of mice carrying a mutation in the TGF-β type 2 receptor associated with severe LDS in humans. Cortical bone in LDS mice showed significantly reduced tissue area, bone area, and cortical thickness with increased eccentricity. However, no significant differences in trabecular bone volume were observed. Dynamic histomorphometry performed in calcein-labeled mice showed decreased mineral apposition rates in cortical and trabecular bone with normal numbers of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Mechanical testing of femurs by three-point bending revealed reduced femoral strength and fracture resistance. In vitro, osteoblasts from LDS mice demonstrated increased mineralization with enhanced expression of osteoblast differentiation markers compared with control cells. These changes were associated with impaired TGF-β1-induced Smad2 and Erk1/2 phosphorylation and upregulated TGF-β1 ligand mRNA expression, compatible with G357W as a loss-of-function mutation in the TGF-β type 2 receptor. Paradoxically, phosphorylated Smad2/3 in cortical osteocytes measured by immunohistochemistry was increased relative to controls, possibly suggesting the cross-activation of TGF-β-related receptors. The skeletal phenotype observed in the LDS mouse closely resembles the principal structural features of bone in humans with LDS and establishes this mouse as a valid in vivo model for further investigation of TGF-β receptor signaling in bone. © 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res. © 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Orthopaedic Research 07/2015; DOI:10.1002/jor.22920 · 2.97 Impact Factor
  • Harry C Dietz
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    ABSTRACT: Myofibroblast-derived αvβ1 integrin has emerged as a critical mediator of transforming growth factor-β activation in experimental models of tissue fibrosis (Reed et al., this issue). Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    Science translational medicine 05/2015; 7(288):288fs21. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.aab0044 · 14.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with Marfan syndrome (MFS) are at high risk of life-threatening aortic dissections. The condition is caused by mutations in the gene encoding fibrillin-1, an essential component in the formation of elastic fibers. While experimental findings in animal models of the disease have shown the involvement of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)- and angiotensin II-dependent pathways, alterations in the vascular extracellular matrix (ECM) may also play a role in the onset and progression of the aortic disease. Lysyl oxidases (LOX) are extracellular enzymes, which initiates the formation of covalent cross-linking of collagens and elastin, thereby contributing to the maturation of the ECM. Here we have explored the role of LOX in the formation of aortic aneurysms in MFS. We show that aortic tissue from MFS patients and MFS mouse model (Fbn1C1039G/+) displayed enhanced expression of the members of the LOX family, LOX and LOX-like 1 (LOXL1), and this is associated with the formation of mature collagen fibers. Administration of a LOX inhibitor for 8 weeks blocked collagen accumulation and aggravated elastic fiber impairment, and these effects correlated with the induction of a strong and rapidly progressing aortic dilatation, and with premature death in the more severe MFS mouse model, Fbn1mgR/mgR, without any significant effect on wild type animals. This detrimental effect occurred preferentially in the ascending portion of the aorta, with little or no involvement of the aortic root, and was associated to an overactivation of both canonical and non-canonical TGF-β signaling pathways. The blockade of angiotensin II type I receptor with losartan restored TGF-β signaling activation, normalized elastic fiber impairment and prevented the aortic dilatation induced by LOX inhibition in Fbn1C1039G/+ mice. Our data indicate that LOX enzymes and LOX-mediated collagen accumulation play a critical protective role in aneurysm formation in MFS.
    Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 05/2015; 85. DOI:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2015.05.008 · 5.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A number of randomized trials are underway, which will address the effects of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) on aortic root enlargement and a range of other end points in patients with Marfan syndrome. If individual participant data from these trials were to be combined, a meta-analysis of the resulting data, totaling approximately 2,300 patients, would allow estimation across a number of trials of the treatment effects both of ARB therapy and of β-blockade. Such an analysis would also allow estimation of treatment effects in particular subgroups of patients on a range of end points of interest and would allow a more powerful estimate of the effects of these treatments on a composite end point of several clinical outcomes than would be available from any individual trial. A prospective, collaborative meta-analysis based on individual patient data from all randomized trials in Marfan syndrome of (i) ARBs versus placebo (or open-label control) and (ii) ARBs versus β-blockers will be performed. A prospective study design, in which the principal hypotheses, trial eligibility criteria, analyses, and methods are specified in advance of the unblinding of the component trials, will help to limit bias owing to data-dependent emphasis on the results of particular trials. The use of individual patient data will allow for analysis of the effects of ARBs in particular patient subgroups and for time-to-event analysis for clinical outcomes. The meta-analysis protocol summarized in this report was written on behalf of the Marfan Treatment Trialists' Collaboration and finalized in late 2012, without foreknowledge of the results of any component trial, and will be made available online (http://www.ctsu.ox.ac.uk/research/meta-trials). Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    American heart journal 05/2015; 169(5):605-612. DOI:10.1016/j.ahj.2015.01.011 · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: At least 14 causative genes have been identified for both syndromic and non-syndromic forms of thoracic aortic aneurysm/dissection (TAA), an important cause of death in the industrialized world. Molecular confirmation of the diagnosis is increasingly important for gene-tailored patient management but consecutive, conventional molecular TAA gene screening is expensive and labor-intensive. To circumvent these problems, we developed a TAA gene panel for next generation sequencing of 14 TAA genes. After validation, we applied the assay to 100 Marfan patients. We identified 90 FBN1 mutations, 44 of which were novel. In addition, Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification identified large deletions in 6 of the remaining samples, while false negative results were excluded by Sanger sequencing of FBN1, TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 in the last 4 samples. Subsequently, we screened 55 syndromic and non-syndromic TAA patients. We identified causal mutations in 15 patients (27%), one in each of the 6 following genes: ACTA2, COL3A1, TGFBR1, MYLK, SMAD3, SLC2A10 (homozygous), 2 in NOTCH1 and 7 in FBN1. We conclude that our approach for TAA genetic testing overcomes the intrinsic hurdles of consecutive Sanger sequencing of all candidate genes and provides a powerful tool for the elaboration of clinical phenotypes assigned to different genes This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Human Mutation 04/2015; DOI:10.1002/humu.22802 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND Aneurysms affecting the aorta are a common condition associated with high mortality as a result of
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 04/2015; 65(13). DOI:10.1016/j.jacc.2015.01.040 · 15.34 Impact Factor
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    Ronald V Lacro · Harry C Dietz · Lynn Mahony
    New England Journal of Medicine 03/2015; 372(10):980-1. DOI:10.1056/NEJMc1500128 · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Loeys-Dietz syndrome is a connective tissue disorder characterized by vascular, craniofacial, and musculoskeletal malformation. Our goal was to report the manifestations, surgical treatment, and complications in the cervical spine in patients with Loeys-Dietz syndrome. We reviewed the clinical and cervical spine imaging data of eighty patients with Loeys-Dietz syndrome who were seen at our institution from January 2005 through January 2014. Their mean age at presentation was 17.3 years (range, three months to seventy-five years). We tested associations with use of the Fisher exact test (type of TGF-βR [transforming growth factor-beta receptor] mutation and cervical abnormalities) and the Student t test (age at presentation and type of TGF-βR mutation) (significance, p = 0.05). Vertebral anomalies and cervical instability were common; we found no significant association of TGF-βR-type with cervical abnormalities or age at presentation. Twenty-eight patients had atlas defects (anterior and/or posterior arch defects or hypoplasia), fifty-three had axis malformations (elongation, apex-anterior dens angulation, or spondylolysis), and twelve had focal kyphosis. Ten patients had hypoplastic subaxial vertebrae, leading to focal kyphosis (eight) and subaxial instability (nine). Eight patients had atlantoaxial instability. Of the thirteen patients with cervical instability, nine were treated surgically: fusion (eight patients) and halo application (one) (mean age, four years; range, three months to twelve years). Postoperative complications (seven patients) were pseudarthrosis, failure of fixation, junctional kyphosis or instability, and development of occipital-cervical instability. Cervical midline defects (most often C1-C3) are common in Loeys-Dietz syndrome. Patients have a high prevalence of cervical instability, particularly a pattern of instability at C2-C3 associated with C3 vertebral body hypoplasia and C2-C3 focal kyphosis. Patients requiring surgery typically present in early childhood. Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence. Copyright © 2015 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated.
    The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 03/2015; 97(5):411-9. DOI:10.2106/JBJS.N.00680 · 4.31 Impact Factor
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    Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography: official publication of the American Society of Echocardiography 02/2015; 28(2):119-82. DOI:10.1016/j.echo.2014.11.015 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Aortic-root dissection is the leading cause of death in Marfan's syndrome. Studies suggest that with regard to slowing aortic-root enlargement, losartan may be more effective than beta-blockers, the current standard therapy in most centers. Methods We conducted a randomized trial comparing losartan with atenolol in children and young adults with Marfan's syndrome. The primary outcome was the rate of aortic-root enlargement, expressed as the change in the maximum aortic-root-diameter z score indexed to body-surface area (hereafter, aortic-root z score) over a 3-year period. Secondary outcomes included the rate of change in the absolute diameter of the aortic root; the rate of change in aortic regurgitation; the time to aortic dissection, aortic-root surgery, or death; somatic growth; and the incidence of adverse events. Results From January 2007 through February 2011, a total of 21 clinical centers enrolled 608 participants, 6 months to 25 years of age (mean [±SD] age, 11.5±6.5 years in the atenolol group and 11.0±6.2 years in the losartan group), who had an aortic-root z score greater than 3.0. The baseline-adjusted rate of change (±SE) in the aortic-root z score did not differ significantly between the atenolol group and the losartan group (-0.139±0.013 and -0.107±0.013 standard-deviation units per year, respectively; P=0.08). Both slopes were significantly less than zero, indicating a decrease in the degree of aortic-root dilatation relative to body-surface area with either treatment. The 3-year rates of aortic-root surgery, aortic dissection, death, and a composite of these events did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups. Conclusions Among children and young adults with Marfan's syndrome who were randomly assigned to losartan or atenolol, we found no significant difference in the rate of aortic-root dilatation between the two treatment groups over a 3-year period. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00429364 .).
    New England Journal of Medicine 11/2014; 371(22). DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1404731 · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pacemaking activity of specialized tissues in the heart and gut results in lifelong rhythmic contractions. Here we describe a new syndrome characterized by Chronic Atrial and Intestinal Dysrhythmia, termed CAID syndrome, in 16 French Canadians and 1 Swede. We show that a single shared homozygous founder mutation in SGOL1, a component of the cohesin complex, causes CAID syndrome. Cultured dermal fibroblasts from affected individuals showed accelerated cell cycle progression, a higher rate of senescence and enhanced activation of TGF-β signaling. Karyotypes showed the typical railroad appearance of a centromeric cohesion defect. Tissues derived from affected individuals displayed pathological changes in both the enteric nervous system and smooth muscle. Morpholino-induced knockdown of sgol1 in zebrafish recapitulated the abnormalities seen in humans with CAID syndrome. Our findings identify CAID syndrome as a novel generalized dysrhythmia, suggesting a new role for SGOL1 and the cohesin complex in mediating the integrity of human cardiac and gut rhythm.
    Nature Genetics 10/2014; 46(11). DOI:10.1038/ng.3113 · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kabuki syndrome is caused by haploinsufficiency for either of two genes that promote the opening of chromatin. If an imbalance between open and closed chromatin is central to the pathogenesis of Kabuki syndrome, agents that promote chromatin opening might have therapeutic potential. We have characterized a mouse model of Kabuki syndrome with a heterozygous deletion in the gene encoding the lysine-specific methyltransferase 2D (Kmt2d), leading to impairment of methyltransferase function. In vitro reporter alleles demonstrated a reduction in histone 4 acetylation and histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) activity in mouse embryonic fibroblasts from Kmt2d(+/βGeo) mice. These activities were normalized in response to AR-42, a histone deacetylase inhibitor. In vivo, deficiency of H3K4me3 in the dentate gyrus granule cell layer of Kmt2d(+/βGeo) mice correlated with reduced neurogenesis and hippocampal memory defects. These abnormalities improved upon postnatal treatment with AR-42. Our work suggests that a reversible deficiency in postnatal neurogenesis underlies intellectual disability in Kabuki syndrome.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(256):256ra135. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3009278 · 14.41 Impact Factor
  • Mark E Lindsay · Harry C Dietz
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    ABSTRACT: Gene identification in human aortic aneurysm conditions is proceeding at a rapid pace and the integration of pathogenesis-based management strategies in clinical practice is an emerging reality. Human genetic alterations causing aneurysm involve diverse gene products including constituents of the extracellular matrix, cell surface receptors, intracellular signaling molecules, and elements of the contractile cytoskeleton. Animal modeling experiments and human genetic discoveries have extensively implicated the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) cytokine-signaling cascade in aneurysm progression, but mechanistic links between many gene products remain obscure. This chapter will integrate human genetic alterations associated with aortic aneurysm with current basic research findings in an attempt to form a reconciling if not unifying model for hereditary aortic aneurysm.
    Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 09/2014; 4(9). DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a015909 · 7.56 Impact Factor
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    Gretchen MacCarrick · Bart Loeys · Harry C Dietz
    Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics 08/2014; 16(8):642-644. DOI:10.1038/gim.2014.59 · 6.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To compare 1-year results after aortic valve-sparing (AVS) or valve-replacing (AVR) aortic root replacement from a prospective, international registry of 316 patients with Marfan syndrome (MFS). Methods Patients underwent AVS (n=239, 76%) or AVR (n=77, 24%) aortic root replacement at 19 participating centers between 2005 and 2010. One-year follow-up was completed for 312 patients (99%), with imaging available for 293 patients (94%). Time-to-events were compared between groups using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox Proportional Hazards models. Results Two patients (0.6%)—1 in each group—died within 30 days. There were no significant differences in early major adverse valve-related events (MAVRE) (P=0.6). Two AVS patients required early reoperation for coronary artery complications. One-year survival rates were similar in the AVR (97%) and AVS groups (98%); procedure type was not significantly associated with any valve-related events. At 1 year and beyond, aortic regurgitation of at least moderate severity (≥2+) was present in 16 patients in the AVS group (7%) but in no patients in the AVR group (P=0.02). One AVS patient required late AVR. Conclusions Valve-sparing aortic root replacement was not associated with higher 30-day mortality or morbidity rates than AVR root replacement. At 1 year, there were no differences in survival, valve-related morbidity, or MAVRE between the AVS and AVR groups. Of concern, 7% of AVS patients developed ≥2+ aortic regurgitation, emphasizing the importance of 5- to 10-year follow-up to learn the long-term durability of AVS versus AVR root replacement in patients with MFS.
    The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery 06/2014; 147(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.02.021 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE. Arterial dissection and aneurysm rupture are significant sources of morbidity and mortality in patients with connective tissue diseases. This article provides a detailed analysis of cardiovascular involvement in Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, and vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. CONCLUSION. Although these syndromes share some overlapping features, they have discriminating clinical and imaging features, and knowledge of these features enables the radiologist to aid the referring clinician in making the correct diagnosis.
    American Journal of Roentgenology 05/2014; 202(5):1120-9. DOI:10.2214/AJR.13.11485 · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Shprintzen-Goldberg syndrome (SGS) is a rare, systemic connective tissue disorder characterized by craniofacial, skeletal, and cardiovascular manifestations that show a significant overlap with the features observed in the Marfan (MFS) and Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS). A distinguishing observation in SGS patients is the presence of intellectual disability, although not all patients in this series present this finding. Recently, SGS was shown to be due to mutations in the SKI gene, encoding the oncoprotein SKI, a repressor of TGFβ activity. Here, we report eight recurrent and three novel SKI mutations in eleven SGS patients. All were heterozygous missense mutations located in the R-SMAD binding domain, except for one novel in-frame deletion affecting the DHD domain. Adding our new findings to the existing data clearly reveals a mutational hotspot, with 73% (24 out of 33) of the hitherto described unrelated patients having mutations in a stretch of five SKI residues (from p.(Ser31) to p.(Pro35)). This implicates that the initial molecular testing could be focused on mutation analysis of the first half of exon 1 of SKI. As the majority of the known mutations are located in the R-SMAD binding domain of SKI, our study further emphasizes the importance of TGFβ signaling in the pathogenesis of SGS.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 16 April 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.61.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 04/2014; 23(2). DOI:10.1038/ejhg.2014.61 · 4.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a rare, nonatherosclerotic arterial disease for which the molecular basis is unknown. We comprehensively studied 47 subjects with FMD, including physical examination, spine magnetic resonance imaging, bone densitometry, and brain magnetic resonance angiography. Inflammatory biomarkers in plasma and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) cytokines in patient-derived dermal fibroblasts were measured by ELISA. Arterial pathology other than medial fibrodysplasia with multifocal stenosis included cerebral aneurysm, found in 12.8% of subjects. Extra-arterial pathology included low bone density (P<0.001); early onset degenerative spine disease (95.7%); increased incidence of Chiari I malformation (6.4%) and dural ectasia (42.6%); and physical examination findings of a mild connective tissue dysplasia (95.7%). Screening for mutations causing known genetically mediated arteriopathies was unrevealing. We found elevated plasma TGF-beta1 (P=0.009)؍‬ TGF-beta2 (P=0.004)؍‬ and additional inflammatory markers, and increased TGF-beta1 (P=0.0009)؍‬ and TGF-beta2 (P=0.001)؍‬ secretion in dermal fibroblast cell lines from subjects with FMD compared to age-and gender-matched controls. Detailed phenotyping of patients with FMD allowed us to demonstrate that FMD is a systemic disease with alterations in common with the spectrum of genetic syndromes that involve altered TGF-beta signaling and offers TGF-beta as a marker of FMD.
    The FASEB Journal 04/2014; 28(8). DOI:10.1096/fj.14-251207 · 5.48 Impact Factor
  • Harry Dietz
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    ABSTRACT: I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Harrington Discovery Institute for the honor of being named the inaugural recipient of the Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine. I accept this distinction with a deep sense of gratitude and debt to my mentors, trainees, colleagues, collaborators, patients, and family. Moments of recognition such as this are rare, savored, and sustaining. They also invariably provoke personal reflection about what exactly is being recognized. If something innovative truly stands apart in my work, I have come to the conclusion that it relates less to the methods utilized to address questions and more to the questions I choose to ask, and when I ask them.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 04/2014; 124(4):1425-9. DOI:10.1172/JCI75840 · 13.77 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

19k Citations
2,605.27 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2015
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 1991–2015
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      • • McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine
      • • Department of Medicine
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1992–2014
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      • • Department of Radiology and Radiological Science
      • • McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine
      • • Division of Cardiac Surgery
      • • Department of Pediatrics
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Antwerp
      • Centre of Medical Genetics
      Antwerpen, VLG, Belgium
  • 2009
    • Mount Sinai School of Medicine
      • Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
      Manhattan, NY, United States
  • 2006
    • University of California, San Diego
      • Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 1997–2006
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Iowa
      Iowa City, Iowa, United States
  • 2004
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • Department of Physiology and Biophysics
      New York City, New York, United States