BACKGROUND : Visceral artery aneurysms (VAAs) can be fatal if ruptured. Although a relatively rare incident, it holds a contemporary mortality rate of approximately 12%. VAAs have multiple possible causes, one of which is genetic predisposition. Here, we present a striking family with seven individuals affected by VAAs, and one individual affected by a visceral artery pseudoaneurysm.
METHODS : We exome sequenced the affected family members and the parents of the proband to find a possible underlying genetic defect. As exome sequencing did not reveal any feasible protein-coding variants, we combined whole-genome sequencing of two individuals with linkage analysis to find a plausible non-coding culprit variant. Variants were ranked by the deep learning framework DeepSEA.
RESULTS : Two of seven top-ranking variants, NC_000013.11:g.108154659C>T and NC_000013.11:g.110409638C>T, were found in all VAA-affected individuals, but not in the individual affected by the pseudoaneurysm. The second variant is in a candidate cis-regulatory element in the fourth intron of COL4A2, proximal to COL4A1.
CONCLUSIONS : As type IV collagens are essential for the stability and integrity of the vascular basement membrane and involved in vascular disease, we conclude that COL4A1 and COL4A2 are strong candidates for VAA susceptibility genes.
Donner Iikki, Sipilä Lauri J, Plaketti Roosa-Maria, Kuosmanen Anna, Forsström Linda, Katainen Riku, Kuismin Outi, Aavikko Mervi, Romsi Pekka, Kariniemi Juho, Aaltonen Lauri A
Aneurysm, COL4A1, COL4A2, genetic susceptibility, next-generation sequencing, non-coding variants