Congenital cataracts-facial dysmorphism-neuropathy

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2006 Aug 29:1:32. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-1-32.


Congenital Cataracts Facial Dysmorphism Neuropathy (CCFDN) syndrome is a complex developmental disorder of autosomal recessive inheritance. To date, CCFDN has been found to occur exclusively in patients of Roma (Gypsy) ethnicity; over 100 patients have been diagnosed. Developmental abnormalities include congenital cataracts and microcorneae, primary hypomyelination of the peripheral nervous system, impaired physical growth, delayed early motor and intellectual development, mild facial dysmorphism and hypogonadism. Para-infectious rhabdomyolysis is a serious complication reported in an increasing number of patients. During general anaesthesia, patients with CCFDN require careful monitoring as they have an elevated risk of complications. CCFDN is a genetically homogeneous condition in which all patients are homozygous for the same ancestral mutation in the CTDP1 gene. Diagnosis is clinical and is supported by electrophysiological and brain imaging studies. The major differential diagnosis is Marinesco-Sjögren syndrome. The definitive diagnosis is molecular, based on homozygosity for the CTDP1 mutation. CTDP1 maps to 18qter and encodes a protein phosphatase whose only known substrate is the phosphorylated serine residues of the carboxy-terminal domain of the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II, indicating that CCFDN affects basic cellular processes of gene expression and developmental regulation. Families benefit from genetic counselling and predictive testing. Management includes surgical treatment of the cataracts, and rehabilitation and corrective orthopaedic surgery for the peripheral neuropathy. Thus, the most disabling manifestations, though not curable, are manageable, and allow an acceptable quality of life and everyday living. Current data indicate that patients survive well into adulthood.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology*
  • Cataract / congenital
  • Cataract / pathology*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 18
  • Face / abnormalities
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / congenital
  • Facial Nerve Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / genetics
  • Roma / genetics


  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • carboxy-terminal domain phosphatase