Genetic and clinical aspects of Wolfram syndrome 1, a severe neurodegenerative disease

Pediatr Res. 2018 May;83(5):921-929. doi: 10.1038/pr.2018.17. Epub 2018 Feb 28.


Wolfram syndrome 1 (WS1) is a rare autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease characterized by diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy, deafness, and other abnormalities. WS1 usually results in death before the age of 50 years. The pathogenesis of WS1 is ascribed to mutations of human WFS1 gene on chromosome 4p encoding a transmembrane protein called wolframin, which has physiological functions in membrane trafficking, secretion, processing, and/or regulation of ER calcium homeostasis. Different types of WFS1 mutations have been identified, and some of these have been associated with a dominant, severe type of WS. Mutations of CISD2 gene cause autosomal recessive Wolfram syndrome 2 (WS2) characterized by the absence of diabetes insipidus and psychiatric disorders, and by bleeding upper intestinal ulcer and defective platelet aggregation. Other WFS1-related disorders such as DFNA6/14/38 nonsyndromic low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss and Wolfram syndrome-like disease with autosomal dominant transmission have been described. WS1 is a devastating disease for the patients and their families. Thus, early diagnosis is imperative to enable proper prognostication, prevent complications, and reduce the transmission to further progeny. Although there is currently no effective therapy, potential new drugs have been introduced, attempting to improve the progression of this fatal disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging, Premature / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Optic Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Optic Atrophy / genetics*
  • Wolfram Syndrome / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Membrane Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • wolframin protein

Supplementary concepts

  • Deafness, Autosomal Dominant 6
  • Wolfram Syndrome 2