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J Pediatr (Rio J). 2000 May-Jun;76(3):246-50.

[Hypotonic infants and the Prader-Willi Syndrome]

[Article in Portuguese]

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Universidade de São Paulo (USP), SP, Brazil.



To describe 6 patients with less than 3 years of age that were diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) due to hypotonia, poor sucking, slight facial anomalies and minor abnormalities of hands and feet. PWS is a neurobehavioural disorder characterized by two distinct phases; in the first, the neonate presents variable degree of hypotonia, feeding problems with none or poor sucking; hypogonadism, characteristic facial features with almond shaped eyes, narrow bifrontal diameter and down-turned corners of the mouth. Neuropsichymotor development is delayed. Hypotonia is non progressive and tends to improve between 8 and 11 months of age. The second phase then starts and is characterized by increasing hyperphagia and obesity, among other features. Unfortunately, most PWS patients are diagnosed only after obesity is installed.


Methylation, microsatellites analysis and karyotypic studies by traditional and in situ hybridization techniques were done.


A deletion of chromosome segment 15q11q13 was disclosed in 4 and maternal disomy in two patients.


The diagnosis of PWS is generally established after the onset of obesity. So, we suggest that the genetic analysis must be carried out in children with severe hypotonia of unknown cause, poor sucking and some facial features of PWS (small hands and feet, hypogonadism, hypopigmentation, almond eyes and narrow bifrontal diameter). This can allow the early diagnosis and avoid invasive exams necessary for neuromuscular disorder diagnosis like muscle biopsy and electroneuromiography, wich frequently are associated with inconclusives results.

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