Context: Russell-Silver syndrome (RSS), characterized by intrauterine and postnatal growth retardation, dysmorphic features, and frequent body asymmetry, spares cranial growth. Maternal uniparental disomy for chromosome 7 (mUPD7) is found in 5-10% of cases. We identified loss of methylation (LOM) of 11p15 Imprinting Center Region 1 (ICR1) domain (including IGF-II) as a mechanism leading to RSS.
Objective: The aim was to screen for 11p15 epimutation and mUPD7 in RSS and non-RSS small-for-gestational-age (SGA) patients and identify epigenetic-phenotypic correlations. STUDIED POPULATION AND METHODS: A total of 127 SGA patients were analyzed. Clinical diagnosis of RSS was established when the criterion of being SGA was associated with at least three of five criteria: postnatal growth retardation, relative macrocephaly, prominent forehead, body asymmetry, and feeding difficulties. Serum IGF-II was evaluated for 82 patients.
Results: Of the 127 SGA patients, 58 were diagnosed with RSS; 37 of these (63.8%) displayed partial LOM of the 11p15 ICR1 domain, and three (5.2%) had mUPD7. No molecular abnormalities were found in the non-RSS SGA group (n = 69). Birth weight, birth length, and postnatal body mass index (BMI) were lower in the abnormal 11p15 RSS group (ab-ICR1-RSS) than in the normal 11p15 RSS group [-3.4 vs.-2.6 SD score (SDS), -4.4 vs.-3.4 SDS, and -2.5 vs.-1.6 SDS, respectively; P < 0.05]. Among RSS patients, prominent forehead, relative macrocephaly, body asymmetry, and low BMI were significantly associated with ICR1 LOM. All ab-ICR1-RSS patients had at least four of five criteria of the scoring system. Postnatal IGF-II levels were within normal values.
Conclusion: The 11p15 ICR1 epimutation is a major, specific cause of RSS exhibiting failure to thrive. We propose a clinical scoring system (including a BMI < -2 SDS), highly predictive of 11p15 ICR1 LOM, for the diagnosis of RSS.