Abnormal brain structure in adults with Van der Woude syndrome

Clin Genet. 2007 Jun;71(6):511-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2007.00799.x.


Van der Woude syndrome (VWS) is an autosomal dominant disorder manifested in cleft lip and/or palate and lip pits. Isolated clefts of the lip and/or palate (ICLP) have both genotype and phenotype overlap with VWS. Subjects with ICLP have abnormalities in brain structure and function. Given the similarities between VWS and ICLP, the current study was designed to evaluate the pattern of brain structure of adults with VWS. Fourteen adults with VWS were compared to age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Brain structure was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging. All subjects with VWS had enlarged volumes of the anterior regions of the cerebrum. Men with VWS had reduced volumes of the posterior cerebrum. Anterior cerebrum volume was negatively correlated with intelligent quotient in the subjects with VWS indicating that the enlargement of this brain region was 'pathologic.' The pattern of brain structure in VWS is nearly identical to those seen in ICLP. In addition, men are affected more severely. Pathologic enlargement of the tissue and a gender effect with men affected more severely are common features of neurodevelopmental disorders supporting the notion that the brain structure of VWS and ICLP may be because of abnormal brain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cleft Lip / pathology*
  • Cleft Palate / pathology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Syndrome