Intronic RET gene variants in Down syndrome-associated Hirschsprung disease in an African population
Background: Clinical association between Hirschsprung disease (HD) and Down syndrome (DS) is well established. RET promoter and intron 1 variations have been shown to interfere with RET function, increasing the risk of HD pathogenesis. The intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism 2 (SNP2 [rs2435357]) has been associated with DS-associated HD (DS-HD). This study focuses on variations of specific RET intron, 1 SNPs (viz, SNP1 [rs2506004] and SNP2 [rs2435357]) in DS-HD. Patients and Methods: DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded tissue samples and whole blood in 14 patients with DS with histologically proven HD. Polymerase chain reaction products of RET intron 1 were screened for genetic variation and matched to DS and controls from the general population. Results: Thirty-seven blood and/or tissue from 14 patients with DS-HD were investigated. RET intronic variations (SNP1 [rs2506004] or SNP2 [rs2435357]) were detected in all patients. SNP1 was detected in all patients, was heterozygous in 9, and homozygous in 5 samples (all aganglionic and 1 total colonic aganglionosis). SNP2 was absent in 6 patients, heterozygous in 6, and homozygous in 3. Three DS controls had a heterozygous SNP1. Homozygous intronic SNP RET variations were related to aganglionic tissue but not normally ganglionated or transitional zone from the same individual. Conclusions: Potential disease-related RET mutations were identified in the intron region in 80% of patients with DS-HD investigated, suggesting a causal relationship. The presence of a homozygous form in the aganglionic tissue probably represents a somatic mutation, which suggests local microenvironmental factors in HD pathogenesis. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.