X chromosome inactivation patterns in brain in Rett syndrome: implications for the disease phenotype

Brain Dev. 2005 Jun;27(4):266-70. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2004.07.002.


Skewed X chromosome inactivation (XCI) has been implicated in modulating the severity of Rett syndrome (RTT), although studies by different groups have yielded conflicting results. In this study we have characterised the XCI pattern in various neuroanatomical regions of nine RTT brains and non-neural tissue in two of these patients to determine whether or not variable XCI patterns occur in different brain regions or somatic tissues of the same patient. The mean XCI patterns for frontal and occipital cortex were compared between RTT and control subjects, and showed no significant differences when comparing RTT frontal to control frontal cortex or RTT occipital to control occipital cortex. However, one RTT subject displayed variability across the different neuroanatomical regions of the brain and skewing in some non-neural tissues. This observation adds another dimension to the epigenetic factors that may contribute to the phenotype in RTT. It also mandates that caution should be exercised in factoring XCI, including assumptions based on the blood XCI pattern, into the development of phenotype-genotype correlations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / genetics*
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics*