Disruption of vascular homeostasis in patients with Kawasaki disease: involvement of vascular endothelial growth factor and angiopoietins

Breunis, W. B.; Davila, S.; Shimizu, C.; Oharaseki, T.; Takahashi, K.; van Houdt, M.; Khor, C. C.; Wright, V. J.; Levin, M.; Burns, J. C.; Burgner, D.; Hibberd, M. L.; Kuijpers, T. W.; International Kawasaki Disease Genetics, Consortium

Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Sep 10; 64(1):306-15


OBJECTIVE: In Kawasaki disease (KD), a pediatric vasculitis of medium-sized arteries, the coronary arteries are most commonly affected. Angiopoietins and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) play an important role in maintaining vascular homeostasis. Recently, we identified ANGPT1 and VEGFA as susceptibility loci for KD. This study was undertaken to fine-map these associations and to gain further insight into their role in this vasculitis of unknown etiology to further the search for improved diagnostic and therapeutic options. METHODS: A total of 292 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in VEGF and ANGPT and their receptors were genotyped in 574 families, including 462 trios. For replication, 123 cases and 171 controls were genotyped. RESULTS: A significant association with KD susceptibility was observed with 5 SNPs in the ANGPT1 gene (most significantly associated SNP +265037 C>T; Pcombined=2.3x10(-7) ) and 2 SNPs in VEGFA (most significantly associated SNP rs3025039; Pcombined=2.5x10(-4) ). Both ANGPT1 +265037 C>T and VEGFA rs3025039 are located in 3' regulatory regions at putative transcription factor binding sites. We observed significantly down-regulated transcript levels of angiopoietin 1 (Ang-1) in patients with acute KD compared to patients with convalescent KD. In patients with acute KD, high serum protein levels of VEGF and Ang-2 were observed compared to patients with convalescent KD and to both controls with and controls without fever. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated VEGF and angiopoietin expression in the coronary artery wall in autopsy tissue. CONCLUSION: Our data support the hypothesis that dysregulation of VEGF and angiopoietins contributes to the disruption of vascular homeostasis in KD.

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