Genomics of Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 May 21;19(5):1526. doi: 10.3390/ijms19051526.


Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) is &ldquo;an idiopathic, segmental, non-atherosclerotic and non-inflammatory disease of the musculature of arterial walls, leading to stenosis of small and medium-sized arteries&rdquo; (Persu, et al; 2014). FMD can lead to hypertension, arterial dissections, subarachnoid haemorrhage, stroke or mesenteric ischemia. The pathophysiology of the disease remains elusive. While familial cases are rare (<5%) in contemporary FMD registries, there is evidence in favour of the existence of multiple genetic factors involved in this vascular disease. Recent collaborative efforts allowed the identification of a first genetic locus associated with FMD. This intronic variant located in the phosphatase and actin regulator 1 gene (PHACTR1) may influence the transcription activity of the endothelin-1 gene (EDN1) located nearby on chromosome 6. Interestingly, the PHACTR1 locus has also been involved in vascular hypertrophy in normal subjects, carotid dissection, migraine and coronary artery disease. National and international registries of FMD patients, with deep and harmonised phenotypic and genetic characterisation, are expected to be instrumental to improve our understanding of the genetic basis and pathophysiology of this intriguing vascular disease.

Keywords: PHACTR1; cervical artery dissection; fibromuscular dysplasia; genetic association; non atherosclerotic vascular stenosis; spontaneous coronary arteries dissection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelin-1 / genetics
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia / genetics*
  • Fibromuscular Dysplasia / pathology
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Endothelin-1
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • PHACTR1 protein, human