Neuropsychopathology in 7 Patients with the 22q13 Deletion Syndrome: Presence of Bipolar Disorder and Progressive Loss of Skills

Mol Syndromol. 2012 Jun;3(1):14-20. doi: 10.1159/000339119. Epub 2012 May 16.


The 22q13 deletion syndrome is characterised by intellectual disability (ID), delayed or absent speech, autistic-like behaviour and minor, nonspecific dysmorphic features. The deletion of the SHANK3 gene is thought to be responsible for these features. In this study, the clinical data of 7 patients with the 22q13 deletion syndrome are presented, obtained by clinical genetic examination, direct behavioural observation and by interview of family members and/or caregivers, complemented by behavioural questionnaires. The specific focus was on behaviour, psychopathology and the level of functioning during life course in order to determine common features that might contribute to the delineation of the syndrome. Major findings were a high incidence of psychiatric disorders, more in particular bipolar disorder (BPD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and a sudden deterioration after acute events, in addition to a progressive loss of skills over years. Therefore, a deletion of SHANK3 may result in a dysfunctional nervous system, more susceptible to developmental problems and psychiatric disorders on the one hand, less able to recuperate after psychiatric and somatic events, and more vulnerable to degeneration at long term on the other hand. These results are exploratory and need to be confirmed in a larger sample.