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Am J Med Genet A. 2007 Aug 1;143A(15):1715-25.

Meckel syndrome in the Hutterite population is actually a Joubert-related cerebello-oculo-renal syndrome.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Children's Hospital and University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Meckel syndrome (MKS) is a rare lethal autosomal recessive disorder characterized by the presence of occipital encephalocele, cystic kidneys, fibrotic changes of the liver and polydactyly. Joubert syndrome (JS)-related disorders (JSRDs) or cerebello-oculo-renal syndromes (CORS) are a group of recessively inherited conditions characterized by a molar tooth sign (MTS) on cranial MRI, a set of core clinical features (developmental delay/mental retardation, hypotonia, ataxia, episodic breathing abnormalities, abnormal eye movements) and variable involvement of other systems including renal, ocular, central nervous system, craniofacial, hepatic, and skeletal. A significant clinical overlap between MKS and JSRD/CORS has been recognized in the literature. We describe a group of 10 Hutterite patients, of which 7 had been previously diagnosed with MKS, with a JSRD. Clinical features include variable early mortality, cognitive handicap, a characteristic dysmorphic facial appearance, hypotonia, ataxia, abnormal breathing pattern, nystagmus, and MTS on MRI. Additional features include occipital encephalocele, posterior fossa fluid collections resembling Dandy-Walker malformation, hydrocephalus, coloboma, and renal disease. This JSRD is a recognizable dysmorphic syndrome characterized by hypertelorism, deep-set eyes, down-slanting palpebral fissures, ptosis, arched eyebrows with medial sparseness, square nasal tip, short philtrum with tented upper lip, open mouth with down-turned corners, and posteriorly rotated low-set ears. Renal disease is present in 70% of patients and is characterized by cystic kidneys, abnormalities in renal function and hypertension. Homozygous deletions of NPHP1 and the known loci for JS/JSRD and MKS were excluded by identity-by-descent mapping studies suggesting that this condition in the Hutterites represents yet another locus for a JSRD.

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