Several Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome patients have been studied, mouse models for a few candidate genes have been constructed and two WHS critical regions have been postulated, but the molecular basis of the syndrome remains poorly understood. Single gene contributions to phenotypes of microdeletion syndromes have often been based on the study of patients carrying small, atypical deletions. We report a 5-year-old girl harboring an atypical 1.5Mb del4p16.3 and review seven previously published patients carrying a similar deletion. They show a variable clinical presentation and the only consistent feature is post-natal growth delay. However, four of eight patients carry a ring (4), and ring chromosomes in general are associated with growth deficiency. The Greek helmet profile is absent, although a trend towards common dysmorphic features exists. Variable expressivity and incomplete penetrance might play a role in WHS, resulting in difficult clinical diagnosis and challenge in understanding of the genotype/phenotype correlation.
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