Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome From Past to Future: Model for Translational and Transitional Autonomic Medicine

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Abstract

The modern story of CCHS began in 1970 with the first description by Mellins et al., came most visibly to the public eye with the ATS Statement in 1999, and continues with increasingly fast paced advances in genetics. Affected individuals have diffuse autonomic nervous system dysregulation (ANSD). The paired-like homeobox gene PHOX2B is the disease-defining gene for CCHS; a mutation in the PHOX2Bgene is requisite to the diagnosis of CCHS. Approximately 90% of individuals with the CCHS phenotype will be heterozygous for a polyalanine repeat expansion mutation (PARM); the normal allele will have 20 alanines and the affected allele will have 24–33 alanines (genotypes 20/24–20/33). The remaining ˜10% of individuals with CCHS will have a non-PARM (NPARM), in the PHOX2B gene; these will be missense, nonsense, or frameshift. CCHS and PHOX2B are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner with a stable mutation. Approximately 8% of parents of a CCHS proband will be mosaic for the PHOX2B mutation. A growing number of cases of CCHS are identified after the newborn period, with presentation from infancy into adulthood. An improved understanding of the molecular basis of the PHOX2B mutations and of the PHOX2B genotype/CCHS phenotype relationship will allow physicians to anticipate the clinical phenotype for each affected individual. To best convey the remarkable history of CCHS, and to describe the value of recognizing CCHS as a model for translational and transitional autonomic medicine, we present this review article in the format of a chronological story, from 1970 to the present day.

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