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Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2007 Jul;11(4):235-9. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Coinheritance of mutated SMN1 and MECP2 genes in a child with phenotypic features of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type II and Rett syndrome.

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Pediatric Department of Venizelion General Hospital Iraklion, Crete, Greece.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular autosomal recessive disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and atrophy combined with motor neuron degeneration caused by mutations in the SMN 1 gene locus (5q11.2-13.2). Rett syndrome (RS) is an X-linked dominant neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in MECP2 (Xq28) and characterized by normal development until 6-12 months of age, followed by regression with loss of acquired skills, gradual onset of microcephaly, stereotypic hand movements and psychomotor delay. We report a 6-year-old girl who, at 2 years of age, presented with hypotonia, psychomotor delay, amyotrophy and areflexia of the lower extremities. Molecular DNA analysis (PCR-RFLP's) for SMA type II revealed that both exons 7 and 8 of SMN 1 gene were deleted. Over the past 4 years, onset of stereotypic hand-washing movements, epileptic seizures, microcephaly, hyperventilation/breath-holding attacks and severe psychomotor delay raised the suspicion of the coexistence of RS. DNA analysis (DGGE and sequencing) identified the hotspot missense mutation R306C (c.916C>T) in exon 4 of the MECP2 gene. The coinheritance of SMA and RS, two rare monogenic syndromes in the same patient, has not been previously reported. Thorough clinical evaluation in combination with DNA analysis, allowed accurate diagnosis, providing valuable information for the genetic counseling of the family.

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