Whole exome sequencing to discover genetic variation associated with aortopathy in Turner Syndrome
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Turner syndrome is a disorder affecting only girls and women, which is caused by a complete or partial loss of the second sex chromosome. Girls and women with Turner syndrome have a variety of phenotypes. Of interest to this study is aortopathy, including bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) and thoracic aortic dilation (TAD) in which we know that 25 - 50% of girls with Turner syndrome are born with.
The aorta is the main artery that conducts the blood out of the heart. The aortic valve guards the entrance to the aorta. When the aortic valve has two leaflets instead of the usual three it is called a BAV. BAV is more common than all other congenital heart defects combined. BAV commonly causes obstructions to blood flow out of the heart or become leaky over time. BAV often occurs in combination with TAD. In Turner syndrome, TADs are increased 50-100 fold compared to the general population. Currently, there are no effective approaches or pre-surgical treatments for aortic disease. Therefore, progression of aortic disease in individuals with BAV/TAD can result in catastrophic aortic dissection, rupture, and death.
Our goal is to leverage DNA sequencing and carefully curated patient samples to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that cause these inter-related aortic diseases.
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