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Rev Neurol. 2006 Jan 7;42 Suppl 1:S69-75.

[Williams syndrome: its clinical aspects and molecular bases].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Departamento de Ciencias Experimentales y de la Salud, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, EspaƱa.



Williams syndrome is a developmental disorder with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 7,500 newborns. Its phenotype is characterized by distinctive facial features, mild to moderate mental retardation and general cognitive deficits with a non-uniform profile, having problems in some areas (psychomotricity, visuospatial integration) and relative preservation of others (language, musicality), friendly personality, occasional hypercalcemia of infancy, and a vasculopathy with supravalvular aortic stenosis. Williams syndrome is caused by a submicroscopic deletion of 1.55 Mb in the chromosome band 7q11.23, which includes 26-28 genes. The mutational mechanism consists in a misalignment between regions of almost identical sequence and the subsequent unequal recombination. The reciprocal product of this rearrangement is the duplication of this region, causing a language specific disorder.


Clinical-molecular correlations establishment through a good phenotypic characterization and the precise analysis of breakpoints in patients with atypical and typical deletions, altogether with the design of animal models and functional studies in vitro for the genes of the interval will be important to be able to determine the exact contribution of the genes to the phenotype, to know their pathogenesis and physiopathology, and to identify therapeutic methods.

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