The RSH/Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (RSH/SLOS) is an autosomal recessive multiple congenital anomaly/mental retardation syndrome caused by an inborn error of cholesterol biosynthesis. The RSH/SLOS phenotypic spectrum is broad; however, typical features include microcephaly, ptosis, a small upturned nose, micrognathia, postaxial polydactaly, second and third toe syndactaly, genital anomalies, growth failure, and mental retardation. RSH/SLOS is due to a deficiency of the 3beta-hydroxysterol Delta(7)-reductase, which catalyzes the reduction of 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) to cholesterol. This inborn error of cholesterol biosynthesis results in elevated serum and tissue 7-DHC levels. The 3beta-hydroxysterol Delta(7)-reductase gene (DHCR7) maps to chromosome 11q12-13, and to date 66 different mutations of this gene have been identified in RSH/SLOS patients. Identification of the biochemical basis of RSH/SLOS has led to development of therapeutic regimens based on dietary cholesterol supplementation and has increased our understanding of the role cholesterol plays during embryonic development.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.