TWIST gene mutation in a patient with radial aplasia and craniosynostosis: further evidence for heterogeneity of Baller-Gerold syndrome.

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The term Baller-Gerold syndrome was coined by Cohen [1979: Birth Defects 15(5B): 13-63] to designate the phenotype of craniosynostosis and radial aplasia. It is thought to be a rare autosomal recessive condition, which, in some patients, presents with additional abnormalities, such as polymicrogyria, mental retardation or anal atresia. A phenotypic overlap of Baller-Gerold and Roberts-SC phocomelia syndrome was noted when a patient with bicoronal synostosis and bilateral radial hypoplasia was found to have premature centromere separation, a finding characteristic of Roberts syndrome [Huson et al.,1990: J Med Genet 27:371-375]. Other cases of presumed Baller-Gerold syndrome were rediagnosed as Fanconi pancytopenia, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome or VACTERL association. These reports led to a narrowed redefinition of Baller-Gerold syndrome based on the exclusion of cytogenetic and hematopoetic abnormalities and the absence of additional malformations in patients with craniosynostosis and preaxial upper limb abnormalities. Here we report on a patient with unilateral radial aplasia and bicoronal synostosis without additional malformations and without chromosome breakage, who fits this narrow definition of Baller-Gerold syndrome. We identified a novel TWIST gene mutation in this patient, a Glu181Stop mutation predicting a premature termination of the protein carboxy-terminal to the helix 2 domain. This report provides further evidence that Baller-Gerold is of heterogeneous cause, and a thorough evaluation is indicated to identify a possibly more specific diagnosis, including Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. This differential diagnosis is of particular importance, as it is an autosomal dominant trait. Therefore, the recurrence risk for parents of an affected child can be 50% if one parent carries the mutation, as opposed to the 25% recurrence risk for autosomal recessive inheritance. Offspring of the affected patient also have a 50% risk to inherit the mutation, while the risk to bear an affected offspring for an autosomal recessive trait is very low.





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Medicine and Health Sciences | Pediatrics




Department of Pediatrics

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