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Clin Genet. 2005 Apr;67(4):330-4.

Elastic fiber abnormalities in hypermobility type Ehlers-Danlos syndrome patients with tenascin-X mutations.

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Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a heterogeneous group of connective tissue disorders with characteristic skin and joint involvement. The concept that EDS is a disease of fibrillar collagen was challenged by the identification of a clinically distinct, recessive type of EDS caused by deficiency of the extracellular matrix protein tenascin-X (TNX). Interestingly, haploinsufficiency of TNX is associated with the dominantly inherited hypermobility type of EDS. In this study, we examined whether missense mutations in the TNX gene can account for some of the cases of hypermobility type EDS. Furthermore, we studied whether missense mutations or heterozygosity for truncating mutations in the TNX gene lead to alterations in the dermal connective tissue. Sequence analysis revealed three missense mutations in TNX in hypermobility type EDS patients, which were not present in 192 control alleles. Morphometric analysis of skin biopsies of these patients showed altered elastic fibers in one of them, suggesting that this missense mutation is disease causing. Light microscopic and ultrastructural changes of the elastic fibers were observed in TNX-haploinsufficient hypermobility type EDS patients, which were not found in hypermobility type EDS patients in whom TNX mutations were excluded. Our results indicate that the observed alterations in elastic fibers are specific for hypermobility type EDS patients with mutations of TNX.

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