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Introduction: Cervical artery dissection (CeAD) of the carotid and vertebral arteries is a prevalent cause of stroke in young adults. While the pathogenesis of incident CeAD remains poorly understood, clinical and genetic associations suggest a systemic arteriopathy at time of event.Hypothesis: Individuals suffering CeAD express a distinct gene expression profile at time of event compared to (1) age and sex-matched controls and (2) convalescent profiles within the same individual at a later time point.Methods: We enrolled 37 consecutive patients with carotid or vertebral artery dissection (with and without ischemic stroke) from 2013-2016, excluding concurrence of major trauma. Cases were age and sex matched to non-CeAD ischemic stroke controls (n=16) and healthy controls (n=11). Whole blood samples were collected within four weeks from time of event, and again at 3 and 6-month follow-up. We used IlluminaHT-12 microarrays to assess differential gene expression at time of CeAD relative to controls, and relative to gene expression at >3 month follow-up within CeAD cases. Mixed effects regression models included relevant covariates of age, sex, race/ethnicity, time of enrollment, and occurrence of stroke. We used a False Discovery Rate (FDR) cutoff of 5% to account for multiple testing as well as a 1.5 fold change cutoff to identify robust, differential gene expression.Results: We identified 538 differentially expressed genes between CeAD patients and healthy controls with 30 of these genes reaching our predetermined 1.5x fold change limit. Within CeAD cases, 1,238 genes showed differential expression at a 5% FDR compared to time points at 3-6 month follow-up, with 31 genes showing at least a 1.5 fold change. Compared to controls and convalescent profiles, 12 genes were significant using the 5% FDR and 1.5 fold change cutoffs. Preliminary gene-ontology analysis indicate the largest differential expression for genes associated with oxygen and gas transport.Conclusion: In this consecutive cohort of individuals with CeAD, we identified a distinct gene expression profile associated with incident dissection. These data are limited by small sample size and results are hypothesis generating. Replication in larger, independent cohorts is warranted.