<i>TIMP3</i> and <i>TIMP1</i> are risk genes for bicuspid aortic valve and aortopathy in Turner syndrome

by Holly Corbitt, Shaine A. Morris, Claus H. Gravholt, Kristian H. Mortensen, Rebecca Tippner-Hedges, Michael Silberbach, Cheryl L. Maslen, GenTAC Registry Investigators

Turner syndrome is caused by complete or partial loss of the second sex chromosome, occurring in ~1 in 2,000 female births. There is a greatly increased incidence of aortopathy of unknown etiology, including bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), thoracic aortic aneurysms, aortic dissection and rupture. We performed whole exome sequencing on 188 Turner syndrome participants from the National Registry of Genetically Triggered Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Cardiovascular Related Conditions (GenTAC). A gene-based burden test, the optimal sequence kernel association test (SKAT-O), was used to evaluate the data with BAV and aortic dimension z-scores as covariates. Genes on chromosome Xp were analyzed for the potential to contribute to aortopathy when hemizygous. Exome analysis revealed that TIMP3 was associated with indices of aortopathy at exome-wide significance (p = 2.27 x 10−7), which was replicated in a separate cohort. The analysis of Xp genes revealed that TIMP1, which is a functionally redundant paralogue of TIMP3, was hemizygous in >50% of our discovery cohort and that having only one copy of TIMP1 increased the odds of having aortopathy (OR = 9.76, 95% CI = 1.91–178.80, p = 0.029). The combinatorial effect of a single copy of TIMP1 and TIMP3 risk alleles further increased the risk for aortopathy (OR = 12.86, 95% CI = 2.57–99.39, p = 0.004). The products of genes encoding tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are involved in development of the aortic valve and protect tissue integrity of the aorta. We propose that the combination of X chromosome TIMP1 hemizygosity and variants of its autosomal paralogue TIMP3, significantly increases the risk of aortopathy in Turner syndrome.

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