High prevalence of founder mutations of the succinate dehydrogenase genes in the Netherlands

Clin Genet. 2012 Mar;81(3):284-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2011.01653.x. Epub 2011 Mar 15.


Mutations in four genes encoding subunits or cofactors of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) cause hereditary paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma syndromes. Mutations in SDHB and SDHD are generally the most common, whereas mutations in SDHC and SDHAF2 are far less frequently observed. A total of 1045 DNA samples from Dutch paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma patients and their relatives were analyzed for mutations of SDHB, SDHC, SDHD or SDHAF2. Mutations in these genes were identified in 690 cases, 239 of which were index cases. The vast majority of mutation carriers had a mutation in SDHD (87.1%). The second most commonly affected gene was SDHAF2 (6.7%). Mutations in SDHB were found in only 5.9% of samples, whereas SDHC mutations were found in 0.3% of samples. Remarkably, 69.1% of all carriers of a mutation in an SDH gene in the Netherlands can be attributed to a single founder mutation in SDHD, c.274G>T and p.Asp92Tyr. Moreover, 88.8% of all SDH mutation carriers carry one of just six Dutch founder mutations in SDHB, SDHD and SDHAF2. The dominance of SDHD mutations is unique to the Netherlands, contrasting with the higher prevalence of SDHB mutations found elsewhere. In addition, we found that most SDH mutation-related paragangliomas-pheochromocytomas in the Netherlands can be explained by only six founder mutations in SDHAF2, SDHB and SDHD. The findings underline the regional differences in the SDH mutation spectrum, differences that should be taken into account in the development of effective screening protocols. The results show the crucial role that demographic factors play in the frequency of gene mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / genetics
  • Founder Effect*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Paraganglioma / genetics
  • Pheochromocytoma / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase / genetics*


  • Succinate Dehydrogenase