Aortic Dilatation Associated With a De Novo Mutation in the SOX18 Gene: Expanding the Clinical Spectrum of Hypotrichosis-Lymphedema-Telangiectasia Syndrome


Background: We report a 13-year-old female patient followed since birth for multiple rare congenital defects, including hypotrichosis, telangiectasia, and severe dilatation of the ascending aorta. Methods: Comprehensive phenotype assessment throughout childhood included repeated echocardiographic measurements, evaluation of renal function, and immunohistochemical analysis of skin biopsy samples. Whole-exome sequencing was performed for the patient and both unaffected parents. Results: We identified a novel de novo mutation in the transcription factor SOX18 (c.481C>T:p.Gln161*) in the patient, which was absent in all unaffected family members. Echocardiography revealed early onset and progressive dilatation of the ascending aorta. Skin biopsy results confirmed the defects of the blood vasculature in the presence of intact lymphatic vessels. Assessment of renal function did not show any signs of renal problems or renal failure in the patient. Conclusions: The genetic finding of a pathogenic SOX18 mutation enabled the diagnosis of the rare hypotrichosis-lymphedema-telangiectasia syndrome in our patient. The identification of a novel stop gain mutation in the SOX18 gene in association with dilatation of the aorta highlights the importance of this gene during the development of the circulatory system. Our study highlights the importance of whole-exome sequencing in the rapid identification of genes and gene mutations involved in rare conditions and thus expanding the knowledge and spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with them.

Canadian Journal of Cardiology