Purpose: Pitt-Hopkins syndrome is characterized by severe mental retardation, characteristic dysmorphic features, and susceptibility to childhood-onset seizures and intermittent episodes of hyperventilation. This syndrome is caused by haploinsufficiency of TCF4, which encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor. Missense, nonsense, splice-site mutations, and gene deletions have been found in individuals with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. Previous reports have suggested that the Pitt-Hopkins syndrome phenotype is independent of mutation or deletion type.
Methods: We screened 13,186 individuals with microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization. We also conducted a review of the literature and statistical analysis of the phenotypic features for all individuals with confirmed mutations or deletions of TCF4.
Results: We identified seven individuals with TCF4 deletions. All patients have features consistent with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, although only three have breathing anomalies, and none has seizures. Our review of previously reported cases with TCF4 mutations and deletions showed that all patients with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome reported to date have severe psychomotor retardation, the onsets of seizures and hyperventilation episodes are limited to the first decade in most reported patients with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, hyperventilation episodes are more common than seizures and are seen in the oldest patients, and individuals with missense TCF4 mutations are more likely to develop seizures.
Conclusions: On the basis of an analysis of published cases, we propose a genotype-phenotype correlation of increased seizure activity with missense TCF4 mutations.