Genetic causes for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) have not been identified and the role of genes associated with familial thoracic aneurysms in AAA has not been explored. We analyzed nine genes associated with familial thoracic aortic aneurysms, the vascular Ehlers–Danlos gene COL3A1 and the MTHFR p.Ala222Val variant in 155 AAA patients. The thoracic aneurysm genes selected for this study were the transforming growth factor-beta pathway genes EFEMP2, FBN1, SMAD3, TGBF2, TGFBR1, TGFBR2, and the smooth muscle cells genes ACTA2, MYH11 and MYLK. Sanger sequencing of all coding exons and exon–intron boundaries of these genes was performed. Patients with at least one first-degree relative with an aortic aneurysm were classified as familial AAA (n = 99), the others as sporadic AAA. We found 47 different rare heterozygous variants in eight genes: two pathogenic, one likely pathogenic, twenty-one variants of unknown significance (VUS) and twenty-three unlikely pathogenic variants. In familial AAA we found one pathogenic and segregating variant (COL3A1 p.Arg491X), one likely pathogenic and segregating (MYH11 p.Arg254Cys), and fifteen VUS. In sporadic patients we found one pathogenic (TGFBR2 p.Ile525Phefs*18) and seven VUS. Thirteen patients had two or more variants. These results show a previously unknown association and overlapping genetic defects between AAA and familial thoracic aneurysms, indicating that genetic testing may help to identify the cause of familial and sporadic AAA. In this view, genetic testing of these genes specifically or in a genome-wide approach may help to identify the cause of familial and sporadic AAA.

dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-015-1567-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/81973
Human Genetics
Department of Bioinformatics

van de Luijtgaarden, K.M, Heijsman, D, Maugeri, A, Weiss, M.M, Verhagen, H.J.M, IJpma, A.S, … Majoor-Krakauer, D.F. (2015). First genetic analysis of aneurysm genes in familial and sporadic abdominal aortic aneurysm. Human Genetics, 134(8), 881–893. doi:10.1007/s00439-015-1567-0