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Clin Genet. 2012 Jul;82(1):33-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2011.01749.x. Epub 2011 Jul 31.

JAG1 mutations are found in approximately one third of patients presenting with only one or two clinical features of Alagille syndrome.

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Department of Molecular Genetics Department of Clinical Genetics, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Barrack Road, Exeter, UK.


Alagille syndrome is a multisystem disorder characterized by highly variable expressivity, most frequently caused by heterozygous JAG1 gene mutations. Classic diagnostic criteria combine the presence of bile duct paucity on liver biopsy with three of five systems affected; liver, heart, skeleton, eye and dysmorphic facies. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and distribution of JAG1 mutations in patients referred for routine clinical diagnostic testing. Clinical data were available for 241 patients from 135 families. The index cases were grouped according to the number of systems affected (heart, liver, skeletal, eye and facies) and the mutation frequency calculated for each group. JAG1 mutations were identified in 59/135 (44%) probands. The highest mutation detection rates were observed in patients with the most frequent presenting features of Alagille syndrome; ranging from 20% (one system) to 86% (five systems). The overall mutation pick-up rate in a clinical diagnostic setting was lower than in previous research studies. Identification of a JAG1 gene mutation is particularly useful for those patients with atypical or mild Alagille syndrome who do not meet classic diagnostic criteria as it provides a definite molecular diagnosis and allows accurate genetic counselling for the family.

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