Variability in clinical phenotype despite common chromosomal deletion in Smith-Magenis syndrome [del(17)(p11.2p11.2)]

Genet Med. 2003 Nov-Dec;5(6):430-4. doi: 10.1097/01.gim.0000095625.14160.ab.


Purpose: This report delineates the phenotypic features in a cohort of 58 individuals with Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) and compares features of patients with the common microdeletion to those of patients with variable sized deletions, and the three previously reported patients who harbor a mutation in RAI1 (retinoic acid induced 1).

Methods: From December 1990 thru September 1999, 58 persons with SMS were enrolled in a 5-day multidisciplinary clinical protocol at the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), Texas Children's Hospital. Each patient had a cytogenetically evident deletion in 17p11.2.

Results: Of the 51 patients in whom the molecular extent of the chromosomal deletion could be delineated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and/or fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), 39 (approximately 76%) had the common SMS deletion. Smaller or larger deletions were seen in approximately 12% and approximately 10% of patients, respectively, and 1 patient had a complex chromosomal rearrangement including a deletion in 17p11.2. Parent of origin was determined by polymorphic marker analysis in a subset of patients: maternal approximately 43%, paternal approximately 57%. All patients had impaired cognitive and adaptive functioning and had at least one objective measure of sleep disturbance. Other common features (seen in >50% of patients) include short stature, ophthalmological, and otolaryngological anomalies, hearing impairment, abnormal EEG, and scoliosis. Cardiac and renal anomalies were seen in approximately 45% and approximately 19% of patients, respectively. There are no statistically significant differences in the incidence of these abnormalities in patients with the common deletion compared to those patients with smaller or larger sized deletions.

Conclusions: Despite a common deletion size in 76% of patients with SMS, the only constant objectively defined features among these patients are sleep disturbances, low adaptive functioning, and mental retardation. There is no pathognomonic clinical feature, no characteristic cardiovascular defect, renal anomaly, otolaryngological or ophthalmic abnormality in SMS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17 / genetics*
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Phenotype*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Sleep Disorders, Intrinsic / genetics
  • Syndrome
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors


  • Proteins
  • RAI1 protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors