Whole exome sequencing in thrombophilic pedigrees to identify genetic risk factors for venous thromboembolism

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BACKGROUND Family studies have shown a strong heritability component for venous thromboembolism (VTE), but established genetic risk factors are present in only half of VTE patients. AIM To identify genetic risk factors in two large families with unexplained hereditary VTE. METHODS We performed whole exome sequencing in 10 affected relatives of two unrelated families with an unexplained tendency for VTE. We prioritized variants shared by all affected relatives from both families, and evaluated these in the remaining affected and unaffected individuals. We prioritized variants based on 3 different filter strategies: variants within candidate genes, rare variants across the exome, and SNPs present in patients with familial VTE and with low frequency in the general population. We used whole exome sequencing data available from 96 unrelated VTE cases with a positive family history of VTE from an affected sib study (the GIFT study) to identify additional carriers and compared the risk-allele frequencies with the general population. Variants found in only one individual were also retained for further analysis. Finally, we assessed the association of these variants with VTE in a population-based case-control study (the MEGA study) with 4,291 cases and 4,866 controls. RESULTS Six variants remained as putative disease-risk candidates. These variants are located in 6 genes spread among 3 different loci: 2p21 (PLEKHH2 NM_172069:c.3105T>C, LRPPRC rs372371276, SRBD1 rs34959371), 5q35.2 (UNC5A NM_133369.2:c.1869+23C>A), and 17q25.1 (GPRC5C rs142232982, RAB37 rs556450784). In GIFT, additional carriers were identified only for the variants located in the 2p21 locus. In MEGA, additional carriers for several of these variants were identified in both cases and controls, without a difference in prevalence; no carrier of the UNC5A variant was present. CONCLUSION Despite sequencing of several individuals from two thrombophilic families resulting in 6 candidate variants, we were unable to confirm their relevance as novel thrombophilic defects.




Cunha, M. L. R., Meijers, J. C. M., Rosendaal, F. R., Vlieg, A. van H., Reitsma, P. H., & Middeldorp, S. (2017). Whole exome sequencing in thrombophilic pedigrees to identify genetic risk factors for venous thromboembolism. PLoS ONE, 12(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187699

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