Recurrent Rare Genomic Copy Number Variants and Bicuspid Aortic Valve Are Enriched in Early Onset Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections.

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Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections (TAAD) are a major cause of death in the United States. The spectrum of TAAD ranges from genetic disorders, such as Marfan syndrome, to sporadic isolated disease of unknown cause. We hypothesized that genomic copy number variants (CNVs) contribute causally to early onset TAAD (ETAAD). We conducted a genome-wide SNP array analysis of ETAAD patients of European descent who were enrolled in the National Registry of Genetically Triggered Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Cardiovascular Conditions (GenTAC). Genotyping was performed on the Illumina Omni-Express platform, using PennCNV, Nexus and CNVPartition for CNV detection. ETAAD patients (n = 108, 100% European American, 28% female, average age 20 years, 55% with bicuspid aortic valves) were compared to 7013 dbGAP controls without a history of vascular disease using downsampled Omni 2.5 data. For comparison, 805 sporadic TAAD patients with late onset aortic disease (STAAD cohort) and 192 affected probands from families with at least two affected relatives (FTAAD cohort) from our institution were screened for additional CNVs at these loci with SNP arrays. We identified 47 recurrent CNV regions in the ETAAD, FTAAD and STAAD groups that were absent or extremely rare in controls. Nine rare CNVs that were either very large (>1 Mb) or shared by ETAAD and STAAD or FTAAD patients were also identified. Four rare CNVs involved genes that cause arterial aneurysms when mutated. The largest and most prevalent of the recurrent CNVs were at Xq28 (two duplications and two deletions) and 17q25.1 (three duplications). The percentage of individuals harboring rare CNVs was significantly greater in the ETAAD cohort (32%) than in the FTAAD (23%) or STAAD (17%) cohorts. We identified multiple loci affected by rare CNVs in one-third of ETAAD patients, confirming the genetic heterogeneity of TAAD. Alterations of candidate genes at these loci may contribute to the pathogenesis of TAAD.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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