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J Dent Res. 2003 Dec;82(12):1013-7.

MSX1 gene is deleted in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome patients with oligodontia.

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Institute of Dentistry, Biomedicum, PO Box 63, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


Abnormalities of the short arm of chromosome 4 cause multiple congenital malformations, including craniofacial, oral, and dental manifestations. A candidate gene for oral defects in this region is MSX1, which is mandatory for normal oral and tooth development. We examined the dentition and the presence of MSX1 in eight Finnish patients with abnormalities of 4p, including seven cases of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Five of the Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome patients presented with agenesis of several teeth, suggesting that oligodontia may be a common (even though previously not well-documented) feature in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. In fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis, the five patients with oligodontia lacked one copy of MSX1, while the other three had two hybridization signals. One of these presented with the only case of cleft palate among the patients. Our result confirms that haploinsufficiency for MSX1 serves as a mechanism that causes selective tooth agenesis but, alone, is not enough to cause oral clefts.

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