Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) associates with a tissue signature for high transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling but is often caused by heterozygous mutations in genes encoding positive effectors of TGF-β signaling, including either subunit of the TGF-β receptor or SMAD3, thereby engendering controversy regarding the mechanism of disease. Here, we report heterozygous mutations or deletions in the gene encoding the TGF-β2 ligand for a phenotype within the LDS spectrum and show upregulation of TGF-β signaling in aortic tissue from affected individuals. Furthermore, haploinsufficient Tgfb2 +-mice have aortic root aneurysm and biochemical evidence of increased canonical and noncanonical TGF-β signaling. Mice that harbor both a mutant Marfan syndrome (MFS) allele (Fbn1 C1039G/+) and Tgfb2 haploinsufficiency show increased TGF-β signaling and phenotypic worsening in association with normalization of TGF-β2 expression and high expression of TGF-β1. Taken together, these data support the hypothesis that compensatory autocrine and/or paracrine events contribute to the pathogenesis of TGF-β-mediated vasculopathies.
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