Rare Copy Number Variants Disrupt Genes Regulating Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Adhesion and Contractility in Sporadic Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
The American Journal of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 10.93). 12/2010; 87(6):743-56. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.09.015
Source: PubMed


Thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections (TAAD) cause significant morbidity and mortality, but the genetic origins of TAAD remain largely unknown. In a genome-wide analysis of 418 sporadic TAAD cases, we identified 47 copy number variant (CNV) regions that were enriched in or unique to TAAD patients compared to population controls. Gene ontology, expression profiling, and network analysis showed that genes within TAAD CNVs regulate smooth muscle cell adhesion or contractility and interact with the smooth muscle-specific isoforms of α-actin and β-myosin, which are known to cause familial TAAD when altered. Enrichment of these gene functions in rare CNVs was replicated in independent cohorts with sporadic TAAD (STAAD, n = 387) and inherited TAAD (FTAAD, n = 88). The overall prevalence of rare CNVs (23%) was significantly increased in FTAAD compared with STAAD patients (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.03). Our findings suggest that rare CNVs disrupting smooth muscle adhesion or contraction contribute to both sporadic and familial disease.

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    • "Recent advances in microarray-based genome profiling analysis have greatly facilitated the delineation of rare de novo copy-number variations (CNVs) that underlie cardiovascular diseases. For example, rare CNVs have become a focus in the exploration of the genetic contributions to tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) [7]–[10], syndromic CHD [11], [12], thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections [13], and long QT syndrome [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Ongoing studies using genomic microarrays and next-generation sequencing have demonstrated that the genetic contributions to cardiovascular diseases have been significantly ignored in the past. The aim of this study was to identify rare copy number variants in individuals with congenital pulmonary atresia (PA). Based on the hypothesis that rare structural variants encompassing key genes play an important role in heart development in PA patients, we performed high-resolution genome-wide microarrays for copy number variations (CNVs) in 82 PA patient-parent trios and 189 controls with an Illumina SNP array platform. CNVs were identified in 17/82 patients (20.7%), and eight of these CNVs (9.8%) are considered potentially pathogenic. Five de novo CNVs occurred at two known congenital heart disease (CHD) loci (16p13.1 and 22q11.2). Two de novo CNVs that may affect folate and vitamin B12 metabolism were identified for the first time. A de novo 1-Mb deletion at 17p13.2 may represent a rare genomic disorder that involves mild intellectual disability and associated facial features. Rare CNVs contribute to the pathogenesis of PA (9.8%), suggesting that the causes of PA are heterogeneous and pleiotropic. Together with previous data from animal models, our results might help identify a link between CHD and folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FOCM). With the accumulation of high-resolution SNP array data, these previously undescribed rare CNVs may help reveal critical gene(s) in CHD and may provide novel insights about CHD pathogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Genetic studies of aortic disease have helped reveal the pathogenesis of inherited forms of aortic aneurysms. However, the cause of non-familial sporadic aortic aneurysms, which account for the approximately 80% of thoracic aortic aneurysms , remains largely unknown [2] [5] [6]. Progressive dilatation of sporadic ascending aortic aneurysms (SAAA) leads to aortic valve regurgitation, acute aortic dissection, and aortic rupture. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective The pathogenesis of non-familial, sporadic ascending aortic aneurysms (SAAA) is poorly understood, and the relationship between ascending aortic atherosclerosis and medial degeneration is unclear. We evaluated the prevalence and severity of aortic atherosclerosis and its association with medial degeneration in SAAA. Methods and results Atherosclerosis was characterized in ascending aortic tissues collected from 68 SAAA patients (mean age, 62.9 ± 12.0 years) and 15 controls (mean age, 56.6 ± 11.4 years [P = 0.07]) by using a modified American Heart Association classification system. Upon histologic examination, 97% of SAAA patients and 73% of controls showed atherosclerotic changes. Most SAAA samples had intermediate (types 2 and 3, 35%) or advanced atherosclerosis (types ≥ 4; 40%), whereas most control samples showed minimal atherosclerosis (none or type 1, 80%; P < 0.001 after adjusting for age). In a separate analysis, we examined the total incidence and grade distribution of medial degenerative changes among SAAA samples according to atherosclerosis grade. Advanced atherosclerosis was associated with higher grades of smooth muscle cell depletion (P < 0.001), elastic fiber depletion (P = 0.02), elastic fiber fragmentation (P < 0.001), and mucopolysaccharide accumulation (P = 0.04). Aortic diameter was larger in SAAA patients with advanced atherosclerosis than in patients with minimal (P = 0.04) or intermediate atherosclerosis (P = 0.04). Immunostaining showed marked CD3+ T-cell and CD68+ macrophage infiltration, MMP-2 and MMP-9 production, and cryopyrin expression in the medial layer adjacent to atherosclerotic plaque. Conclusions SAAA tissues exhibited advanced atherosclerosis that was associated with severe medial degeneration and increased aortic diameter. Our findings suggest a role for atherosclerosis in the progression of sporadic ascending aortic aneurysms.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Atherosclerosis
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    • "In particular, TAA patients harbour a remarkable number of rare CNVs that are enriched for genes known to be involved in TAA or other vascular disorders. This team identified a total of 84 rare CNVs; since 13% of STAA analyzed patients harbour these rare CNVs, it seems that such CNVs may contribute to a greater proportion of TAA cases than single gene mutations [37]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Thoracic aortic aneurysms have been historically considered to be caused by etiologic factors similar to those implied in abdominal aortic aneurysms. However, during the past decade, there has been increasing evidence that almost 20% of thoracic aortic aneurysms may be associated with a genetic disease, often within a syndromic or familial disorder. Moreover, the presence of congenital anomalies, such as bicuspid aortic valve, may have a unique common genetic underlying cause. Finally, also sporadic forms have been found to be potentially associated with genetic disorders, as highlighted by the analysis of rare variants and expression of specific microRNAs. We therefore sought to perform a comprehensive review of the role of genetic causes in the development of thoracic aortic aneurysms, by analyzing in detail the current evidence of genetic alterations in syndromes such as Marfan, Loeys-Dietz, and Ehler-Danlos, familial or sporadic forms, or forms associated with bicuspid aortic valve.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · The Scientific World Journal
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