Recent reports have described a distinct and recurrent pattern of systemic malformation that associates craniosynostosis and neurodevelopmental abnormalities with many clinical features of the Marfan syndrome (MFS)1-7, an autosomal dominant disorder of the extracellular microfibril caused by defects in the gene encoding fibrillin-1, FBN1(ref. 8). Additional common findings include other craniofacial anomalies, hypotonia, obstructive apnea, foot deformity, and congenital weakness of the abdominal wall. So far, only 11 cases have been reported1-7 precluding the assignment of definitive diagnostic criteria. While it remains unclear whether these cases represent a discrete clinical entity with a single aetiology, they have been pragmatically grouped under the rubric Marfanoid-craniosynostosis or Shprintzen-Goldberg syndrome (SGS). Because of the significant clinical overlap between MFS and SGS, we proposed that they may be caused by allelic mutations. We now report two SGS patients who harbour mutations in FBN1. While it remains unclear whether these mutations are sufficient for the clinical expression of the entire SGS phenotype, these data suggest a role for fibrillin-1 in early craniofacial and central nervous system development. Our recent observation that FBN1 transcript is expressed as early as the 8-cell stage of human embryogenesis is consistent with this hypothesis9.
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