Walker-Warburg syndrome

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2006 Aug 3:1:29. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-1-29.


Walker-Warburg Syndrome (WWS) is a rare form of autosomal recessive congenital muscular dystrophy associated with brain and eye abnormalities. WWS has a worldwide distribution. The overall incidence is unknown but a survey in North-eastern Italy has reported an incidence rate of 1.2 per 100,000 live births. It is the most severe form of congenital muscular dystrophy with most children dying before the age of three years. WWS presents at birth with generalized hypotonia, muscle weakness, developmental delay with mental retardation and occasional seizures. It is associated with type II cobblestone lissencephaly, hydrocephalus, cerebellar malformations, eye abnormalities and congenital muscular dystrophy characterized by hypoglycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan. Several genes have been implicated in the etiology of WWS, and others are as yet unknown. Several mutations were found in the Protein O-Mannosyltransferase 1 and 2 (POMT1 and POMT2) genes, and one mutation was found in each of the fukutin and fukutin-related protein (FKRP) genes. Laboratory investigations usually show elevated creatine kinase, myopathic/dystrophic muscle pathology and altered alpha-dystroglycan. Antenatal diagnosis is possible in families with known mutations. Prenatal ultrasound may be helpful for diagnosis in families where the molecular defect is unknown. No specific treatment is available. Management is only supportive and preventive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / therapy
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Eye Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Eye Abnormalities / genetics*
  • Eye Abnormalities / therapy
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mannosyltransferases / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / congenital*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / diagnosis
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / therapy
  • Mutation
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Syndrome


  • Dystrophin
  • Glycoproteins
  • Mannosyltransferases
  • protein O-mannosyltransferase