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Lethal presentation of neurofibromatosis and Noonan syndrome

Prada CE, Zarate YA, Hagenbuch S, Lovell A, Schorry EK, Hopkin RJ

Am J Med Genet A. 2011 Jun 1; 155A(6):1360-6


Neurofibromatosis type 1 and Noonan syndrome are both common genetic disorders with autosomal dominant inheritance. Similarities between neurofibromatosis type 1 and Noonan syndrome have been noted for over 20 years and patients who share symptoms of both conditions are often given the diagnosis of neurofibromatosis-Noonan syndrome (NFNS). The molecular basis of these combined phenotypes was poorly understood and controversially discussed over several decades until the discovery that the syndromes are related through disturbances of the Ras pathway. We present an infant male with coarse facial features, severe supravalvar pulmonic stenosis, automated atrial tachycardia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, airway compression, severe neurological involvement, and multiple complications that lead to death during early infancy. The severity of clinical presentation and significant dysmorphic features suggested the possibility of a double genetic disorder in the Ras pathway instead of NFNS. Molecular analysis showed a missense mutation in exon 25 of the NF1 gene (4288A>G, p.N1430D) and a pathogenic mutation on exon 8 (922A>G, p.N308D) of the PTPN11 gene. Cardiovascular disease has been well described in patients with Noonan syndrome with PTPN11 mutations but the role of haploinsufficiency for neurofibromin in the heart development and function is not yet well understood. Our case suggests that a double genetic defect resulting in the hypersignaling of the Ras pathway may lead to complex cardiovascular abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, refractory arrhythmia, severe neurological phenotype, and early death.

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