Classic facial characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are shortened palpebral fissures, smooth philtrum, and thin upper vermillion. We aim to help pediatricians detect facial dysmorphism across the fetal alcohol spectrum, especially among nonsyndromal heavily exposed (HE) individuals without classic facial characteristics.
Of 192 Cape Coloured children recruited, 69 were born to women who reported abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy. According to multifaceted criteria, the remainder were allocated clinically to the FAS (n = 22), partial FAS (n = 26) or nonsyndromal HE (n = 75) categories. We used dense surface modeling and signature analyses of 3-dimensional facial photographs to determine agreement between clinical categorization and classifications induced from face shape alone, to visualize facial differences, and to consider predictive links between face shape and neurobehavior.
Face classification achieved significant agreement with clinical categories for discrimination of nonexposed from FAS alone (face: 0.97–1.00; profile: 0.92) or with the addition of partial FAS (face: 0.90; profile: 0.92). Visualizations of face signatures delineated dysmorphism across the fetal alcohol spectrum and in half of the nonsyndromal HE category face signature graphs detected facial characteristics consistent with prenatal alcohol exposure. This subgroup performed less well on IQ and learning tests than did nonsyndromal subjects without classic facial characteristics.
Heat maps and morphing visualizations of face signatures may help clinicians detect facial dysmorphism across the fetal alcohol spectrum. Face signature graphs show potential for identifying nonsyndromal heavily exposed children who lack the classic facial phenotype but have cognitive impairment.
facial dysmorphism; fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; fetal alcohol syndrome; dense surface modeling; signature graphs; prenatal alcohol exposure; alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder
The extracellular signal-related kinases (ERK1/2) are key proteins mediating mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling downstream of RAS: phosphorylation of ERK1/2 leads to nuclear uptake and modulation of multiple targets1. Here we show that reduced dosage of ERF, which encodes an inhibitory ETS transcription factor directly bound by ERK1/2 (refs 2-7), causes complex craniosynostosis (premature fusion of the cranial sutures) in humans and mice. Features of this newly recognized clinical disorder include multiple suture synostosis, craniofacial dysmorphism, Chiari malformation and language delay. Mice with functional Erf reduced to ~30% of normal exhibit postnatal multisuture synostosis; by contrast, embryonic calvarial development appears mildly delayed. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and high-throughput sequencing, we find that ERF binds preferentially to distal regulatory elements containing RUNX or AP1 motifs. This work identifies ERF as a novel regulator of osteogenic stimulation by RAS-ERK signaling, potentially by competing with activating ETS factors in multifactor transcriptional complexes.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) causes extensive heterotopic bone formation due to heterozygous mutations in the glycine-serine activation domain of ACVR1 (ALK2), a bone morphogenetic protein type I receptor. Anecdotal observations of facial similarity have been made by clinicians and parents, but no objective quantitative analysis of the faces of FOP patients has ever been undertaken. We delineated the common facial characteristics of 55 individuals with molecularly confirmed FOP by analysing their face signature (face shape difference normalized against age and sex matched controls) and associated face signature graphs (with face signatures as vertices and adjacency corresponding to greatest similarity). Our analysis identified 10 affected individuals whose face signature is more homogeneous than others with FOP. This distinct subgroup showed the previously identified reduced mandible as well as newly identified features: underdevelopment of the upper orbit/supra-orbital ridge; infra-orbital prominence; and, low-set ears. These findings strongly suggest that the canonical FOP mutation variably affects the postnatal morphogenesis of the normotopic cranial skeleton in the upper midface and mandible and may have important diagnostic and functional implications.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP); dense surface modelling; face signature graphs; ACVR1; ALK2
Abnormal phenotypes have played significant roles in the discovery of gene function, but organized collection of phenotype data has been overshadowed by developments in sequencing technology. In order to study phenotypes systematically, large-scale projects with standardized objective assessment across populations are considered necessary. The report of the 2006 Human Variome Project meeting recommended documentation of phenotypes through electronic means by collaborative groups of computational scientists and clinicians using standard, structured descriptions of disease-specific phenotypes. In this report, we describe progress over the past decade in 3D digital imaging and shape analysis of the face, and future prospects for large-scale facial phenotyping. Illustrative examples are given throughout using a collection of 1107 3D face images of healthy controls and individuals with a range of genetic conditions involving facial dysmorphism.
3D imaging; facial phenotyping; morphometrics; dysmorphology
Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome is caused by anomalies of the short arm of chromosome 4. About 55% of cases are due to de novo terminal deletions, 40% from unbalanced translocations and 5% from other abnormalities. The facial phenotype is characterized by hypertelorism, protruding eyes, prominent glabella, broad nasal bridge and short philtrum. We used dense surface modelling and pattern recognition techniques to delineate the milder facial phenotype of individuals with a small terminal deletion (breakpoint within 4p16.3) compared to those with a large deletion (breakpoint more proximal than 4p16.3). Further, fine-grained facial analysis of several individuals with an atypical genotype and/or phenotype suggests that multiple genes contiguously contribute to the characteristic Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome facial phenotype.
Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome; facial dysmorphism; 3D shape analysis
Many pathogenic structural variants of the human genome are known to cause facial dysmorphism. During the past decade, pathogenic structural variants have also been found to be an important class of genetic risk factor for epilepsy. In other fields, face shape has been assessed objectively using 3D stereophotogrammetry and dense surface models. We hypothesized that computer-based analysis of 3D face images would detect subtle facial abnormality in people with epilepsy who carry pathogenic structural variants as determined by chromosome microarray. In 118 children and adults attending three European epilepsy clinics, we used an objective measure called Face Shape Difference to show that those with pathogenic structural variants have a significantly more atypical face shape than those without such variants. This is true when analysing the whole face, or the periorbital region or the perinasal region alone. We then tested the predictive accuracy of our measure in a second group of 63 patients. Using a minimum threshold to detect face shape abnormalities with pathogenic structural variants, we found high sensitivity (4/5, 80% for whole face; 3/5, 60% for periorbital and perinasal regions) and specificity (45/58, 78% for whole face and perinasal regions; 40/58, 69% for periorbital region). We show that the results do not seem to be affected by facial injury, facial expression, intellectual disability, drug history or demographic differences. Finally, we use bioinformatics tools to explore relationships between facial shape and gene expression within the developing forebrain. Stereophotogrammetry and dense surface models are powerful, objective, non-contact methods of detecting relevant face shape abnormalities. We demonstrate that they are useful in identifying atypical face shape in adults or children with structural variants, and they may give insights into the molecular genetics of facial development.
epilepsy; dysmorphism; structural variants; genomics; dense surface models
To evaluate a sensor-augmented insulin pump with a low glucose suspend (LGS) feature that automatically suspends basal insulin delivery for up to 2 h in response to sensor-detected hypoglycemia.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The LGS feature of the Paradigm Veo insulin pump (Medtronic, Inc., Northridge, CA) was tested for 3 weeks in 31 adults with type 1 diabetes.
There were 166 episodes of LGS: 66% of daytime LGS episodes were terminated within 10 min, and 20 episodes lasted the maximum 2 h. LGS use was associated with reduced nocturnal duration ≤2.2 mmol/L in those in the highest quartile of nocturnal hypoglycemia at baseline (median 46.2 vs. 1.8 min/day, P = 0.02 [LGS-OFF vs. LGS-ON]). Median sensor glucose was 3.9 mmol/L after 2-h LGS and 8.2 mmol/L at 2 h after basal restart.
Use of an insulin pump with LGS was associated with reduced nocturnal hypoglycemia in those at greatest risk and was well accepted by patients.
Prenatal ethanol exposure is the leading preventable cause of congenital mental disability. Whereas a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) requires identification of a specific pattern of craniofacial dysmorphology, most individuals with behavioral and neurological sequelae of heavy prenatal ethanol exposure do not exhibit these defining facial characteristics. Here, a novel integration of MRI and dense surface modeling-based shape analysis was applied to characterize concurrent face-brain phenotypes in C57Bl/6J fetuses exposed to ethanol on gestational day (GD)7 or GD8.5. The facial phenotype resulting from ethanol exposure depended upon stage of insult and was predictive of unique patterns of corresponding brain abnormalities. Ethanol exposure on GD7 produced a constellation of dysmorphic facial features characteristic of human FAS, including severe midfacial hypoplasia, shortening of the palpebral fissures, an elongated upper lip, and deficient philtrum. In contrast, ethanol exposure on GD8.5 caused mild midfacial hypoplasia and palpebral fissure shortening, a shortened upper lip, and a preserved philtrum. These distinct, stage-specific facial phenotypes were associated with unique volumetric and shape abnormalities of the septal region, pituitary, and olfactory bulbs. By demonstrating that early prenatal ethanol exposure can cause more than one temporally-specific pattern of defects, these findings illustrate the need for an expansion of current diagnostic criteria to better capture the full range of facial and brain dysmorphology in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Patients with epilepsy often suffer from other important conditions. The existence of such co-morbidities is frequently not recognized and their relationship with epilepsy usually remains unexplained.
We describe three patients with common, sporadic, non-syndromic epilepsies in whom large genomic microdeletions were found during a study of genetic susceptibility to epilepsy. We performed detailed gene-driven clinical investigations in each patient. Disruption of the function of genes in the deleted regions can explain co-morbidities in these patients.
Co-morbidities in patients with epilepsy can be part of a genomic abnormality even in the absence of (known) congenital malformations or intellectual disabilities. Gene-driven phenotype examination can also reveal clinically significant unsuspected condition.
Facial appearance can be a significant clue in the initial identification of genetic conditions, but their low incidence limits exposure during training and inhibits the development of skills in recognising the facial “gestalt” characteristic of many dysmorphic syndromes. Here we describe the potential of computer‐based models of three‐dimensional (3D) facial morphology to assist in dysmorphology training, in clinical diagnosis and in multidisciplinary studies of phenotype–genotype correlations.
facial dysmorphology; 3D shape models
Craniofacial defects involving the lip and/or palate are among the most common human birth defects. X-linked cleft palate and ankyloglossia results from loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the T-box transcription factor TBX22. Further studies show that TBX22 mutations are also found in around 5% of non-syndromic cleft palate patients. Although palate defects are obvious at birth, the underlying developmental pathogenesis remains unclear. Here, we report a Tbx22null mouse, which has a submucous cleft palate (SMCP) and ankyloglossia, similar to the human phenotype, with a small minority showing overt clefts. We also find persistent oro-nasal membranes or, in some mice a partial rupture, resulting in choanal atresia. Each of these defects can cause severe breathing and/or feeding difficulties in the newborn pups, which results in ∼50% post-natal lethality. Analysis of the craniofacial skeleton demonstrates a marked reduction in bone formation in the posterior hard palate, resulting in the classic notch associated with SMCP. Our results suggest that Tbx22 plays an important role in the osteogenic patterning of the posterior hard palate. Ossification is severely reduced after condensation of the palatal mesenchyme, resulting from a delay in the maturation of osteoblasts. Rather than having a major role in palatal shelf closure, we show that Tbx22 is an important determinant for intramembranous bone formation in the posterior hard palate, which underpins normal palate development and function. These findings could have important implications for the molecular diagnosis in patients with isolated SMCP and/or unexplained choanal atresia.
Churg-Strauss syndrome is a disseminated vasculitis with multisystem involvement, characterized by necrotizing arteritis, eosinophilic infiltration, and extravascular granuloma formation. In as many as 60% of all cases, the heart may be affected. We describe a 30-year-old man in whom pericarditis was followed by the development of a large pericardial effusion, with evidence of impaired right and left ventricular function. The patient had a 5-year history of asthma. Early therapy with high-dose prednisolone and azathioprine led to resolution of the pericardial effusion and prevented a further reduction in biventricular function. (Texas Heart Institute Journal 1991;18:127-31)
Churg-Strauss syndrome; echocardiography; eosinophilia; eosinophilic granuloma; myocarditis; pericarditis; vasculitis