Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD

Committee Member

Gilbert Cote, PhD

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hecht, PhD

Committee Member

Joseph McCarty, PhD

Committee Member

Sanjay Shete, PhD


The Mendelian inheritance of genetic mutations can lead to adult-onset cardiovascular disease. Several genetic loci have been mapped for the familial form of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms (TAA), and many causal mutations have been identified for this disease. Intracranial Aneurysms (ICA) also show linkage heterogeneity, but no mutations have been identified causing familial ICA alone.

Here, we characterized a large family (TAA288) with an autosomal dominant pattern of inherited aneurysms. It is intriguing that female patients predominantly present with ICA and male patients predominantly with TAA in this family. To identify a causal mutation in this family, a genome-wide linkage analysis was previously performed on nine members of this family using the 50k GenChips Hind array from Affymetrix. This analysis eventually identified a single disease-segregating locus, on chromosome 5p15. We build upon this previous analysis in this study, hypothesizing that a genetic mutation inherited in this locus leads to the sex-specific phenotype of TAA and ICA in this family

First we refined the boundaries of the 5p15 disease linked locus down to the genomic coordinates 5p15: 3,424,465- 6,312,925 (GRCh37/hg19 Assembly). This locus was named the TAA288 critical interval. Next, we sequenced candidate genes within the TAA288 critical interval. The selection of genes was simplified by the relatively small number of well-characterized genetic elements within the region. Seeking novel or rare disease-segregating variants, we initially observed a single point alteration in the metalloproteinase gene ADAMTS16 fulfilling this criteria. This variant was later classified as a low-frequency population polymorphism (rs72647757), but we continued to explore the potential role of the ADAMTS16 as the cause of disease in TAA288. We observed that fibroblasts cultured from TAA288 patients consistently upregulated the expression of this gene more strongly compared to matched control fibroblasts when treated with the cytokine TGF-β1, though there was some variation in the exact nature of this expression. We also observed evidence that this protein is expressed at elevated levels in aortic aneurysm tissue from patients with mutations in the gene TGFBR2 and Marfan syndrome, shown by immunohistochemical detection of this protein.


Aneurysm, Medical Genetics, Metalloproteinase, ADAMTS, TAAD, ICA



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