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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Brachydactyly in 14 genetically characterized pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia patients.

Brachydactyly, classically described as shortening of III, IV, and V metacarpals and I distal phalanx, is the typical and most specific sign of Albright's hereditary osteodystrophy, a peculiar phenotype reported in subjects with pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP-Ia) caused by mutations in the GNAS gene, which encodes for the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein (Gsalpha). It has been reported in 70% of PHP subjects from routine radiological examinations, but there are no specific data for hand alterations in genetically characterized PHP-Ia subjects. We evaluated the metacarpophalangeal pattern profile in 14 GNAS-mutated PHP-Ia subjects and determined the prevalence and patterns of left hand bone shortening. To search for genotype/phenotype correlations, we compared metacarpophalangeal pattern profiles in subjects with identical mutations. Shortening below -2 SD score ( SDS) was present in at least one bone in each subject, with a prevalence of 100%; however, great variability existed between subjects and between hand bone segments. Between subjects, shortening ranged from -2 to -10.4 SDS and involved 1-19 hand bones (5.3-100%). Between segments, III-IV metacarpals were the most compromised (-10.4 and -10.0 SDS, respectively); V metacarpals and I-IV distal phalanges were the most frequently shortened (85.7%). Overall, bone length median values revealed shortening below -2 SDS in all metacarpals and all distal phalanges, i.e. brachymetacarpia and brachytelephalangy, that cluster together. These segments were shortened in 64.3-85.7% of patients, significantly differing from proximal and middle phalanges, which were shortened in 21.4-50%. Even if these hand alterations were a constant and typical finding in our PHP-Ia population, cluster analysis in subjects with the same genotypes did not generally show a genotype/phenotype correlation. Variability between subjects may be the result of complex interactions between GNAS defects and other genetic or epigenetic factors. In conclusion, hand shortening analysis in 14 genetically characterized patients showed typical brachymetacarpia and brachytelephalangy. Further studies in PHP-Ia subjects without GNAS mutations and in other brachydactyly syndromes will determine whether the pattern described is also specific.[1]


  1. Brachydactyly in 14 genetically characterized pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia patients. de Sanctis, L., Vai, S., Andreo, M.R., Romagnolo, D., Silvestro, L., de Sanctis, C. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (2004) [Pubmed]
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