Lymphedema in Noonan syndrome: clues to pathogenesis and prenatal diagnosis and review of the literature

Am J Med Genet. 1987 Aug;27(4):841-56. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320270412.


The Noonan syndrome (NS) is a true multiple congenital anomalies (MCA) syndrome with numerous manifestations. An association with lymphedema has been noted, but its pathogenesis is not fully understood. Nine new cases and a review of the literature explore the role of lymphedema in NS, including its pathogenesis, presentations, and phenotypic effects. Consideration is given to developmental stage at time of onset, chronicity, resolution, and anatomic site. It appears likely that lymphedema is a much more frequent concomitant in NS than previously realized. The major source of lymphedema in NS appears to be a presently undefined dysplasia of lymphatic vessels of unknown cause. Further study of lymphedema may provide an understanding of its role in shaping the NS phenotype. Comparison with other MCA syndromes and animal models is made in this regard. Relevance to prenatal diagnosis and treatment is discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lymphedema / complications*
  • Male
  • Noonan Syndrome / complications*
  • Noonan Syndrome / pathology
  • Noonan Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Polyhydramnios / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*