Hypopigmentation in the Prader-Willi syndrome

Am J Hum Genet. 1987 May;40(5):431-42.


Cutaneous and ocular pigmentation were evaluated in 29 individuals with the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Criteria for hypopigmentation included the presence of type I or II skin, the lightest skin type in the family by history, and iris translucency on globe transillumination. On the basis of these criteria, 48% of the PWS individuals were hypopigmented. The presence of hypopigmentation correlated with a small interstitial deletion on the proximal long arm of chromosome 15; however, this deletion was also found in individuals who did not meet the full criteria for hypopigmentation. Hairbulb tyrosinase activity and glutathione content, as well as urine cysteinyldopa excretion, were low in PWS individuals with and without hypopigmentation and did not separate these two groups. We conclude that hypopigmentation is found in a significant proportion of individuals with PWS and that the hypopigmentation may be associated with a deletion of the long arm of chromosome 15. The mechanism for the hypopigmentation is unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15*
  • Eye Color
  • Hair / enzymology
  • Hair / ultrastructure
  • Hair Color
  • Humans
  • Pigmentation Disorders / etiology
  • Pigmentation Disorders / genetics*
  • Pigmentation Disorders / pathology
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / complications
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / genetics*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / pathology
  • Skin Pigmentation