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Background: The premature fusion of one cranial suture, also referred to as non-syndromic craniosynostosis, most commonly involves premature fusion of the sagittal, coronal, or metopic sutures, in that order. Population-based epidemiological studies have found that the birth prevalence of single-suture craniosynostosis is both suture- and sex-dependent.
Methods: Transcriptomic data from 199 individuals with isolated sagittal (n = 100), unilateral coronal (n = 50), and metopic (n = 49) synostosis were compared against a control population (n = 50) to identify transcripts accounting for the different sex-based frequencies observed in this disease.
Results: Differential sex-based gene expression was classified as either gained (divergent) or lost (convergent) in affected individuals to identify transcripts related to disease predilection. Divergent expression was dependent on synostosis sub-type, and was extensive in metopic craniosynostosis specifically. Convergent microarray-based expression was independent of synostosis sub-type, with convergent expression of FBN2, IGF2BP3, PDE1C and TINAGL1 being the most robust across all synostosis sub-types.
Conclusions: Analysis of sex-based gene expression followed by validation by qRT-PCR identified that concurrent upregulation of FBN2 and IGF2BP3, and downregulation of TINAGL1 in craniosynostosis cases were all associated with increased RUNX2 expression and may represent a transcriptomic signature that can be used to characterize a subset of single-suture craniosynostosis cases.
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