Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2018 Apr;21(4):367-374. doi: 10.3171/2017.9.PEDS17365. Epub 2018 Jan 19.

Human genetics and molecular mechanisms of vein of Galen malformation.

Author information

1Department of Neurosurgery.
7Department of Genetics.
2Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; Departments of.
3Neurosurgery and.
4Neurointerventional Radiology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
5Service de Neuroradiologie Diagnostique et Thérapeutique, Hôpital Foch, Suresnes, France; and.
6Department of Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.
8Centers for Mendelian Genomics and Yale Program on Neurogenetics, and.
9Department of Pediatrics and Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


Vein of Galen malformations (VOGMs) are rare developmental cerebrovascular lesions characterized by fistulas between the choroidal circulation and the median prosencephalic vein. Although the treatment of VOGMs has greatly benefited from advances in endovascular therapy, including technical innovation in interventional neuroradiology, many patients are recalcitrant to procedural intervention or lack accessibility to specialized care centers, highlighting the need for improved screening, diagnostics, and therapeutics. A fundamental obstacle to identifying novel targets is the limited understanding of VOGM molecular pathophysiology, including its human genetics, and the lack of an adequate VOGM animal model. Herein, the known human mutations associated with VOGMs are reviewed to provide a framework for future gene discovery. Gene mutations have been identified in 2 Mendelian syndromes of which VOGM is an infrequent but associated phenotype: capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation syndrome ( RASA1) and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia ( ENG and ACVRL1). However, these mutations probably represent only a small fraction of all VOGM cases. Traditional genetic approaches have been limited in their ability to identify additional causative genes for VOGM because kindreds are rare, limited in patient number, and/or seem to have sporadic inheritance patterns, attributable in part to incomplete penetrance and phenotypic variability. The authors hypothesize that the apparent sporadic occurrence of VOGM may frequently be attributable to de novo mutation or incomplete penetrance of rare transmitted variants. Collaboration among treating physicians, patients' families, and investigators using next-generation sequencing could lead to the discovery of novel genes for VOGM. This could improve the understanding of normal vascular biology, elucidate the pathogenesis of VOGM and possibly other more common arteriovenous malformation subtypes, and pave the way for advances in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with VOGM.


AVM; AVM = arteriovenous malformation; CM-AVM = capillary malformation–AVM; GAP = GTPase-activating protein; GTP = guanosine-triphosphate; HHT = hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia; OMIM = Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man; RASA1 = Ras GTPase-activating protein 1; TGF-β = transforming growth factor–β; VOGM; VOGM = vein of Galen malformation; arteriovenous malformation; endovascular; genetics; pediatric; vascular disorders; vasculogenesis; vein of Galen malformation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Sheridan PubFactory
Loading ...
Support Center