Considering the vascular hypothesis for the pathogenesis of small intestinal atresia: a case control study of genetic factors

Am J Med Genet A. 2013 Apr;161A(4):702-10. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.35775. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Small intestinal atresia (SIA) is a rare congenital occlusion of the small intestine. SIA development, particularly in the jejunum and ileum, has been associated with in utero disruption of vascular supply. However, the number of studies of the vascular hypothesis is limited. This study considers the vascular hypothesis by exploring risks associated with 32 SNPs of genes involved in vascular processes of homocysteine metabolism, coagulation, cell-cell interactions, inflammatory response, and blood pressure regulation. A total of 206 SIA cases were ascertained by the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, and 573 infants with no major congenital anomalies by their first birthday were selected as controls. Genomic DNA was genotyped for 32 SNPs involving the following genes: MTHFR, F2, F5, F7, SERPINE1, FGB, ITGA2, ITGB3, SELE, ICAM1, MMP3, TNF, LTA, NOS3, AGTR1, AGT, NPPA, ADD1, SCNN1A, GNB3, and ADRB2. Risks were estimated as odds ratios, adjusted for maternal age and race, with 95% confidence intervals. Cases were considered collectively and by subgroups based on atresia location (duodenal/jejunum/ileum). Three SNPs had reduced risk: SERPINE1 11053 T/G, MMP3 (-1171) A6/A5, and ADRB2 gln27glu. Two had increased risk: ITGA2 873 G/A and NPPA 2238 T/C. No intestinal subphenotypes showed a unique pattern of SNP associations. The association of two SNPs with increased risk lends some, albeit limited, support to vascular impairment as a possible mechanism leading to SIA. These results also identify genes meriting further exploration in SIA studies. Hence, this study makes an important contribution by exploring the long-held but not well-investigated vascular hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Atresia / etiology*
  • Intestinal Atresia / genetics
  • Intestine, Small / abnormalities*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult