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We report on the association of absent patellae, genital and renal anomalies, dysmorphic features, and mental retardation in seven children (six boys and one girl) belonging to five unrelated families. Flexion deformities of the knees and hips with club feet and absent patellae were consistently observed and scrotal hypoplasia and cryptorchidism were present in all boys (6/6). Dysmorphic features included a coarse face, a large nose with a high nasal bridge, and microcephaly. Other features included renal anomalies (multicystic kidneys or hydronephrosis, 7/7), agenesis of the corpus callosum (4/7), swallowing difficulties, micrognathia (4/7), and pulmonary hypoplasia (3/7). Bilateral hypoplasia of the ischia and brachydactyly were also consistently observed (5/5). In two out of seven cases, prenatal ultrasound detection of microcephaly and renal anomalies led to termination of the pregnancy at 27 weeks. Three children died during the first years of life and the remaining two who survived exhibit severe developmental delay. High resolution cytogenetic studies performed on lymphocytes or fibroblasts or both were normal in all cases. Recurrence in two families suggests an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. We propose that this unusual association, similar to that observed in a 4 year old boy by Goldblatt et al, represents a new syndrome distinct from previously reported hypoplastic patella syndromes.
Keywords: patella; genital anomalies; renal anomalies; mental retardation