Albinism, or the NOACH syndrome (the book of Enoch c.v. 1-20)

Clin Genet. 1987 Apr;31(4):228-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.1987.tb02801.x.


After a 4-year multidisciplinary study of albinism our findings will be presented here. Over a hundred albinos were examined, together with their heterozygote family members. Given this substantial patient and subject sample we were provided with the opportunity to: evaluate the results of standard diagnostic procedures, for example pedigree analysis, ocular and clinical examination; determine the diagnostic value of biochemical, and ultrastructural tests; and develop a new and viable albino diagnostic protocol, particularly for electrophysiological examination. In the conclusions the following subjects are in order:

Diagnosis: Our most important finding up till now is that normally pigmented people who do not look like albinos can in fact be albinos.

Differential diagnosis: It appears that patients with autosomal recessive albinism can be normally pigmented, and patients with X-linked albinism can be severely hypopigmented. We therefore propose to abandon the terms oculo-cutaneous albinism (OCA), and X-linked ocular albinism (XOA), and use the terms autosomal recessive albinism, and X-linked albinism instead. X-linked albinism Forsius-Eriksson type (XOAF): We assume that XOAF does not represent a true form of albinism.

Classification: Our results indicate that the phenotypical albino classification, which was a base for Witkop et al. (1978) to also obtain a genetical classification, supported by the hairbulb test, has not proved to be useful for the classification of tyrosinase negative (TNOCA), tyrosinase positive oculocutaneous albinism (TPOCA), and autosomal recessive ocular albinism (AROA) as genetically distinct forms. Prevalence: Our prevalence estimate for all forms of albinism is at least 1:15,000, about 10% of the albinos have X-linked albinism.

Definition: We want to modify the albino definition as a hereditary and congenital inborn error of metabolism related to the pigment cell, and resulting in a systemic disorder that is characterized by anomalies of eyes, and hypopigmentation in most cases or absence of pigment in skin, hair, and eyes, and of which the neuro-anatomical consequences are the most characteristic.

MeSH terms

  • Albinism / classification
  • Albinism / diagnosis
  • Albinism / genetics*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Female
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Hair / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / analysis
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Pigmentation
  • Syndrome
  • X Chromosome


  • Monophenol Monooxygenase