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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2007 Oct;30(5):827. Epub 2007 Aug 20.

Cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome associated with muscular coenzyme Q10 deficiency.

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Department of Pediatric Neurology, Erasme Hospital, Free University of Brussels (ULB), 808 route de Lennik, 1070, Brussels, Belgium.


The cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome is characterized by congenital heart defect, developmental delay, peculiar facial appearance with bitemporal constriction, prominent forehead, downslanting palpebral fissures, curly sparse hair and abnormalities of the skin. CFC syndrome phenotypically overlaps with Noonan and Costello syndromes. Mutations of several genes (PTPN11, HRAS, KRAS, BRAF, MEK1 and MEK2), involved in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, have been identified in CFC-Costello-Noonan patients. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a lipophilic molecule present in all cell membranes, functions as an electron carrier in the mitochondrial respiratory chain, where it transports electrons from complexes I and II to complex III. CoQ10 deficiency is a rare treatable mitochondrial disorder with various neurological (cerebellar ataxia, myopathy, epilepsy, mental retardation) and extraneurological (cardiomyopathy, nephropathy) signs that are responsive to CoQ10 supplementation. We report the case of a 4-year-old girl who presented a CFC syndrome, confirmed by the presence of a pathogenic R257Q BRAF gene mutation, together with a muscular CoQ10 deficiency. Her psychomotor development was severely impaired, hindered by muscular hypotonia and ataxia, both improving remarkably after CoQ10 treatment. This case suggests that there is a functional connection between the MAPK pathway and the mitochondria. This could be through the phosphorylation of a nuclear receptor essential for CoQ10 biosynthesis. Another hypothesis is that K-Ras, one of the proteins composing the MAPK pathway, might be recruited into the mitochondria to promote apoptosis. This case highlights that CoQ10 might contribute to the pathogenesis of CFC syndrome.

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