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ATP7A-Related Copper Transport Disorders.

Authors

Kaler SG1.

Source

GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2019.
2003 May 9 [updated 2016 Aug 18].

Author information

1
Head, Section on Translational Neuroscience, Molecular Medicine Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Excerpt

CLINICAL DESCRIPTION:

Menkes disease, occipital horn syndrome (OHS), and ATP7A-related distal motor neuropathy (DMN) are disorders of copper transport caused by pathogenic variants in ATP7A (encoding a copper-transporting ATPase). Infants with classic Menkes disease appear healthy until age two to three months, when loss of developmental milestones, hypotonia, seizures, and failure to thrive occur. The diagnosis is usually suspected when infants exhibit typical neurologic changes and concomitant characteristic changes of the hair (short, sparse, coarse, twisted, and often lightly pigmented). Temperature instability and hypoglycemia may be present in the neonatal period. Death usually occurs by age three years. OHS is characterized by "occipital horns," distinctive wedge-shaped calcifications at the sites of attachment of the trapezius muscle and the sternocleidomastoid muscle to the occipital bone. Occipital horns may be clinically palpable or observed on skull radiographs. Individuals with OHS also have lax skin and joints, bladder diverticula, inguinal hernias, and vascular tortuosity. Intellect is normal or slightly reduced. ATP7A-related DMN, an adult-onset disorder resembling Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, shares none of the clinical or biochemical abnormalities characteristic of Menkes disease or OHS.

DIAGNOSIS/TESTING:

Menkes disease and OHS are characterized by low concentrations of copper in some tissues as a result of impaired intestinal copper absorption, accumulation of copper in other tissues, and reduced activity of copper-dependent enzymes such as dopamine beta hydroxylase (DBH) and lysyl oxidase. While serum copper concentration and serum ceruloplasmin concentration are low in Menkes disease and OHS, they are normal in ATP7A-related DMN. The diagnosis of ATP7A-related copper transport disorders is most commonly established in a proband by detection of either a hemizygous ATP7A pathogenic variant in a male or a heterozygous ATP7A pathogenic variant in a female.

MANAGEMENT:

Treatment of manifestations: Classic Menkes disease: gastrostomy tube placement to manage caloric intake; surgery for bladder diverticula. Prevention of primary manifestations: Subcutaneous injections of copper histidine or copper chloride before age ten days normalizes developmental outcome in some children and improves the neurologic outcome in others. Prevention of secondary complications: Antibiotic prophylaxis may prevent bladder infection.

GENETIC COUNSELING:

The ATP7A-related copper transport disorders are inherited in an X-linked manner. Approximately one third of affected males have no family history of Menkes disease/OHS/DMN. If the mother is a heterozygote, the risk of transmitting the ATP7A pathogenic variant is 50% in each pregnancy: a male who inherits the pathogenic variant will be affected with the disorder present in his brother; females who inherit the pathogenic variant will be heterozygotes and will not be affected. Males with OHS or ATP7A-related DMN will pass the pathogenic variant to all of their daughters and none of their sons. Individuals with classic Menkes disease do not reproduce. When the pathogenic variant has been identified in an affected family member, heterozygote testing for at-risk female relatives, prenatal testing for pregnancies at increased risk, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis are possible. Prenatal testing for Menkes disease is technically possible by copper transport studies in cultured chorionic villus cells or amniocytes, although its availability is limited.

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