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Intracranial aneurysm (IA) is an expansion of the weakened arterial wall that is often asymptomatic until rupture, resulting in subarachnoid hemorrhage. Here we describe the high prevalence of familial IA in a cohort of Newfoundland ancestry. We began to investigate the genetic etiology of IA in affected family members, as the inheritance of this disease is poorly understood.
Whole exome sequencing was completed for a cohort of 12 affected individuals from two multiplex families with a strong family history of IA. A filtering strategy was implemented to identify rare, shared variants. Filtered variants were prioritized based on validation by Sanger sequencing and segregation within the families.
In family R1352, six variants passed filtering; while in family R1256, 68 variants remained, so further filtering was pursued. Following validation by Sanger sequencing, top candidates were investigated in a set of population controls, namely, C4orf6 c.A1G (p.M1V) and SPDYE4c.C103T (p.P35S). Neither was detected in 100 Newfoundland control samples.
Rare and potentially deleterious variants were identified in both families, though incomplete segregation was identified for all filtered variants. Alternate methods of variant prioritization and broader considerations regarding the interplay of genetic and environmental factors are necessary in future studies of this disease.
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