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Behavioral phenotype of RSH/Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, Maryland 21231, USA.


Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS, RSH/SLO syndrome, MIM 270400) is an autosomal recessive multiple malformation/mental retardation syndrome initially described by Smith et al. [1964] that is due to a defect in cholesterol biosynthesis. The behavioral phenotype of Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome demonstrates cognitive abilities from borderline intellectual functioning to profound mental retardation, sensory hyperreactivity, irritability, language impairment, sleep cycle disturbance, self-injurious behavior, and autism spectrum behaviors. In a recent study of 28 subjects, 14 subjects (50%) with SLOS also exhibited the behavior of throwing themselves backward in a characteristic upper body movement ("opisthokinesis") and 2 adolescents had a stretching motion of the upper body accompanied by hand flicking [Tierney et al., 1999]. In that same study, 6 of 13 subjects (46%) met the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) algorithm criteria (Lord et al. [1993] Infant Mental Health 14:234-252; Lord et al. [1994] J Autism Dev Disord 24:659-685) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (APA [1994] DSM-IV) diagnostic criteria for autistic disorder. Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome is a metabolic disorder that is associated with autism. MRDD Research Reviews 2000;6:131-134.

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