European journal of human genetics : EJHG

Incomplete segregation of MYH11 variants with thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections and patent ductus arteriosus.

PMID 22968129


Thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections (TAAD) is a serious condition with high morbidity and mortality. It is estimated that 20% of non-syndromic TAAD cases are inherited in an autosomal-dominant pattern with variable expression and reduced penetrance. Mutations in myosin heavy chain 11 (MYH11), one of several identified TAAD genes, were shown to simultaneously cause TAAD and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). We identified two large Dutch families with TAAD/PDA and detected two different novel heterozygote MYH11 variants in the probands. These variants, a heterozygote missense variant and a heterozygote in-frame deletion, were predicted to have damaging effects on protein structure and function. However, these novel alterations did not segregate with the TAAD/PDA in 3 out of 11 cases in family TAAD01 and in 2 out of 6 cases of family TAAD02. No mutation was detected in other known TAAD genes. Thus, it is expected that within these families other genetic factors contribute to the disease either by themselves or by interacting with the MYH11 variants. Such an oligogenic model for TAAD would explain the variable onset and progression of the disorder and its reduced penetrance in general. We conclude that in familial TAAD/PDA with an MYH11 variant in the index case caution should be exercised upon counseling family members. Specialized surveillance should still be offered to the non-carriers to prevent catastrophic aortic dissections or ruptures. Furthermore, our study underscores that segregation analysis remains very important in clinical genetics. Prediction programs and mutation evaluation algorithms need to be interpreted with caution.