Occipital horn syndrome (OHS) is a rare connective tissue disorder caused by pathogenic variants in ATP7A, encoding a copper transporter. The main clinical features, including cutis laxa, bony exostoses, and bladder diverticula are attributed to a decreased activity of lysyl oxidase (LOX), a cupro-enzyme involved in collagen crosslinking. The absence of large case series and natural history studies precludes efficient diagnosis and management of OHS patients. This study describes the clinical and molecular characteristics of two new patients and 32 patients previously reported in the literature. We report on the need for long-term specialized care and follow-up, in which MR angiography, echocardiography and spirometry should be incorporated into standard follow-up guidelines for OHS patients, next to neurodevelopmental, orthopedic and urological follow-up. Furthermore, we report on ultrastructural abnormalities including increased collagen diameter, mild elastic fiber abnormalities and multiple autophagolysosomes reflecting the role of lysyl oxidase and defective ATP7A trafficking as pathomechanisms of OHS.
Keywords: ATP7A; Ehlers–Danlos syndrome type IX; Menkes syndrome; collagen; copper transport; elastic fiber; occipital horn syndrome; review.