Potential role of modifier genes influencing transforming growth factor-β1 levels in the development of vascular defects in endoglin heterozygous mice with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

Academic Article


  • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant disorder because of mutations in the genes coding for endoglin (HHT1) or ALK-1 (HHT2). The disease is associated with haploinsufficiency and a murine model was obtained by engineering mice that express a single Endoglin allele. Of a total of 171 mice that were observed for 1 year, 50 developed clinical signs of HHT. Disease prevalence was high in 129/Ola strain (72%), intermediate in the intercrosses (36%), and low in C57BL/6 backcrosses (7%). Most mice first presented with an ear telangiectasia and/or recurrent external hemorrhage. One-third of mice with HHT showed severe vascular abnormalities such as dilated vessels, hemorrhages, liver and lung congestion, and/or brain and heart ischemia. Disease sequelae included stroke, hydrocephalus, fatal hemorrhage, and congestive heart failure. Thus the murine model reproduces the multiorgan manifestions of the human disease. Levels of circulating latent transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 were significantly lower in the 129/Ola than in the C57BL/6 strain. Intercrosses and 129/Ola mice expressing reduced endoglin also showed lower plasma TGF-β1 levels than control. These data suggest that modifier genes involved in the regulation of TGF-β1 expression act in combination with a single functional copy of endoglin in the development of HHT.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20207171
  • Author List

  • Bourdeau A; Faughnan ME; McDonald ML; Paterson AD; Wanless IR; Letarte M
  • Start Page

  • 2011
  • End Page

  • 2020
  • Volume

  • 158
  • Issue

  • 6