Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;70(6):852-62. doi: 10.4088/JCP.08m04476. Epub 2009 May 5.

A review of fragile X premutation disorders: expanding the psychiatric perspective.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.



Fragile X premutation conditions are associated with a significant degree of psychopathology and thus are of interest to the psychiatrist. Remarkable advances at the molecular level have enhanced our understanding of fragile X premutation disorders.


The authors review the genetic, molecular, neuroimaging, and clinical (systemic, neurologic, and psychiatric) manifestations of the premutation carrier state (55-200 CGG repeats) of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene.


The search for the psychiatric clinical manifestations of fragile X-associated conditions was accomplished by PubMed for clinical papers published between 1970 and 2008 with the following search terms: Fragile X syndrome, depression, psychosis, anxiety, and dementia.


Articles addressing psychiatric symptoms in premutation carriers based on review of the abstracts were reviewed. As the majority of the literature on this topic is based on case reports and small case series, these were included in the database.


Reported clinical manifestations of psychiatric illness in premutation carriers include an apparently significant rate of cognitive, mood, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. Fragile X premutation-associated conditions are part of the clinical differential diagnosis of several psychiatric syndromes, particularly in pedigrees with known fragile X syndrome cases.


Fragile X-associated psychiatric manifestations serve as a useful model for a molecular genesis of neuropsychiatric illness. Because of the multigenerational expression of fragile X-associated neuropsychiatric illness, there is a prominent role for genetic testing and genetic counseling of patients and their relatives. Genetic testing is confirmatory of the FMR1 premutation and is an essential component of the clinical evaluation. Psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment of fragile X-associated psychiatric illnesses may improve patient function and assist in adaptation to the burden of a genetic neuropsychiatric illness.

Copyright 2009 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Grant Support

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


Grant Support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk