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1.  Autism, language and communication in children with sex chromosome trisomies 
Archives of disease in childhood  2010;96(10):954-959.
Sex chromosome trisomies (SCTs) are found on amniocentesis in 2.3–3.7 per 1000 same-sex births, yet there is a limited database on which to base a prognosis. Autism has been described in postnatally diagnosed cases of Klinefelter syndrome (XXY karyotype), but the prevalence in non-referred samples, and in other trisomies, is unclear. The authors recruited the largest sample including all three SCTs to be reported to date, including children identified on prenatal screening, to clarify this issue.
Parents of children with a SCT were recruited either via prenatal screening or via a parental support group, to give a sample of 58 XXX, 19 XXY and 58 XYY cases. Parents were interviewed using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales and completed questionnaires about the communicative development of children with SCTs and their siblings (42 brothers and 26 sisters).
Rates of language and communication problems were high in all three trisomies. Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were found in 2/19 cases of XXY (11%) and 11/58 XYY (19%). After excluding those with an ASD diagnosis, communicative profiles indicative of mild autistic features were common, although there was wide individual variation.
Autistic features have not previously been remarked upon in studies of non-referred samples with SCTs, yet the rate is substantially above population levels in this sample, even when attention is restricted to early-identified cases. The authors hypothesise that X-linked and Y-linked neuroligins may play a significant role in the aetiology of communication impairments and ASD.
PMCID: PMC3182523  PMID: 20656736
2.  Holistic management of DSD 
Disorder of sex development (DSD) presents a unique challenge, both diagnostically and in terms of acute and longer-term management. These are relatively rare conditions usually requiring a multidisciplinary approach from the outset and the involvement of a tertiary centre for assessment and management recommendations. This article describes the structure of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) at our centre, with contributions from key members of the team regarding their individual roles. The focus is on the newborn referred for assessment of ambiguous genitalia, rather than on individuals who present in the adolescent period or at other times, although the same MDT involvement is likely to be required. The approach to the initial assessment and management is discussed and the subsequent diagnosis and follow-up presented, with emphasis on the importance of careful transition and long-term support.
PMCID: PMC2892742  PMID: 20541156
disorder of sex development (DSD); intersex; multidisciplinary team; congenital adrenal hyperplasia; gonadal dysgenesis; ambiguous genitalia
3.  Molecular Investigations to Improve Diagnostic Accuracy in Patients With ARC Syndrome 
Human mutation  2009;30(2):E330-E337.
Arthrogryposis, Renal dysfunction and Cholestasis (ARC) syndrome is a multi-system autosomal recessive disorder caused by germline mutations in VPS33B. The detection of germline VPS33B mutations removes the need for diagnostic organ biopsies (these carry a >50% risk of life-threatening haemorrhage due to platelet dysfunction); however, VPS33B mutations are not detectable in ∼25% of patients. In order further to define the molecular basis of ARC we performed mutation analysis and mRNA and protein studies in patients with a clinical diagnosis of ARC. Here we report novel mutations in VPS33B in patients from Eastern Europe and South East Asia. One of the mutations was present in 7 unrelated Korean patients. Reduced expression of VPS33B and cellular phenotype was detected in fibroblasts from patients clinically diagnosed with ARC with and without known VPS33B mutations. One mutation-negative patient was found to have normal mRNA and protein levels. This patient's clinical condition improved and he is alive at the age of 2.5 years. Thus we show that all patients with a classical clinical course of ARC had decreased expression of VPS33B whereas normal VPS33B expression was associated with good prognosis despite initial diagnosis of ARC.
PMCID: PMC2635429  PMID: 18853461
arthrogryposis; renal tubular dysfunction; neonatal cholestasis; ARC; vesicular trafficking defect
4.  Transmitted duplication of 8p23.1–8p23.2 associated with speech delay, autism and learning difficulties 
Duplications of distal 8p with and without significant clinical phenotypes have been reported and are often associated with an unusual degree of structural complexity. Here, we present a duplication of 8p23.1–8p23.2 ascertained in a child with speech delay and a diagnosis of ICD-10 autism. The same duplication was found in his mother who had epilepsy and learning problems. A combination of cytogenetic, FISH, microsatellite, MLPA and oaCGH analysis was used to show that the duplication extended over a minimum of 6.8 Mb between 3 539 893 and 10 323 426 bp. This interval contains 32 novel and 41 known genes, of which only microcephalin (MCPH1) is a plausible candidate gene for autism at present. The distal breakpoint of the duplicated region interrupts the CSMD1 gene in 8p23.2 and the medial breakpoint lies between the MSRA and RP1L1 genes in 8p23.1.
An interchromosomal insertion between a normal and polymorphically inverted chromosome 8 is proposed to explain the origin of this duplication. Further mapped imbalances of distal 8p are needed to determine whether the autistic component of the phenotype in this family results from the cumulative imbalance of many genes or dosage imbalance of an individual susceptibility gene.
PMCID: PMC2985953  PMID: 18716609
autism; epilepsy; duplication; 8p23.1–8p23.2; array CGH; MCPH1

Results 1-25 (37)