Tibial aplasia, lower extremity mirror image polydactyly, brachyphalangy, craniofacial dysmorphism and genital hypoplasia: further delineation and mutational analysis

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Congenital anomalies involving tibial aplasia are rare. Recently, four children with an unusual combination of limb anomalies, facial dysmorphism and genital hypoplasia have been reported. All affected children reported were male. One case noted father to son transmission, implying autosomal dominant inheritance. We report the first female patient with this syndrome. The patient had tibial aplasia, mirror image preaxial polydactyly involving her feet, brachyphalangy, genital hypoplasia as well as facial dysmorphism including telecanthus, blepharophimosis, a flat nasal bridge with a small nose and a small mouth. Consistent with reports in males of a micropenis and hypoplastic scrotum, our patient had absent labia minora and a very small clitoris. Her father had very minor anomalies suggestive of somatic mosaicism or marked variability. Mouse models affecting limb development are powerful tools in the study of human syndromes. The clinical phenotype of patients with this syndrome is reminiscent of some luxoid mouse mutants suggesting Alx4 and related members of the paired homeodomain class as candidate genes. ALX4 haploinsufficiency in humans causes parietal foramina, which one patient with this syndrome was reported to have. Sequencing of coding exons of ALX4 and its related homologue, ALX3, in the proband failed to reveal coding sequence alterations. Our father/daughter pair is the second family reported, supporting a dominant mode of inheritance. Moreover, the very mild phenotype in the father suggests the need for very careful attention to parental examination in such cases.

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