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Eur J Hum Genet. 2013 Mar;21(3):347-51. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.154. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Identification of homozygous WFS1 mutations (p.Asp211Asn, p.Gln486*) causing severe Wolfram syndrome and first report of male fertility.

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The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Wolfram syndrome (WFS) is a neurodegenerative genetic condition characterized by juvenile-onset of diabetes mellitus and optic atrophy. We studied clinical features and the molecular basis of severe WFS (neurodegenerative complications) in two consanguineous families from Iran. A clinical and molecular genetic investigation was performed in the affected and healthy members of two families. The clinical diagnosis of WFS was confirmed by the existence of diabetes mellitus and optic atrophy in the affected patients, who in addition had severe neurodegenerative complications. Sequencing of WFS1 was undertaken in one affected member from each family. Targeted mutations were tested in all members of relevant families. Patients had most of the reported features of WFS. Two affected males in the first family had fathered unaffected children. We identified two homozygous mutations previously reported with apparently milder phenotypes: family 1: c.631G>A (p.Asp211Asn) in exon 5, and family 2: c.1456C>T (p.Gln486*) in exon 8. Heterozygous carriers were unaffected. This is the first report of male Wolfram patients who have successfully fathered children. Surprisingly, they also had almost all the complications associated with WFS. Our report has implications for genetic counseling and family planning advice for other affected families.

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