Genetic risk factors for intracranial aneurysm (IA) are not yet fully understood. Genomewide association studies have been successful at identifying common variants; however, the role of rare variation in IA susceptibility has not been fully explored. In this study, we report the use of whole exome sequencing (WES) in seven densely-affected families (45 individuals) recruited as part of the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm study. WES variants were prioritized by functional prediction, frequency, predicted pathogenicity, and segregation within families. Using these criteria, 68 variants in 68 genes were prioritized across the seven families. Of the genes that were expressed in IA tissue, one gene (TMEM132B) was differentially expressed in aneurysmal samples (n=44) as compared to control samples (n=16) (false discovery rate adjusted p-value=0.023). We demonstrate that sequencing of densely affected families permits exploration of the role of rare variants in a relatively common disease such as IA, although there are important study design considerations for applying sequencing to complex disorders. In this study, we explore methods of WES variant prioritization, including the incorporation of unaffected individuals, multipoint linkage analysis, biological pathway information, and transcriptome profiling. Further studies are needed to validate and characterize the set of variants and genes identified in this study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas