Fragile X-Associated Neuropsychiatric Disorders (FXAND) in Young Fragile X Premutation Carriers

Genes (Basel). 2022 Dec 17;13(12):2399. doi: 10.3390/genes13122399.


Background: The fragile X premutation carrier state (PM) (55-200 CGG repeats in the fragile X messenger ribonucleoprotein 1, FMR1 gene) is associated with several conditions, including fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI) and fragile X-associated tremor ataxia (FXTAS), with current literature largely primarily investigating older PM individuals. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of fragile X-associated neurodevelopmental disorders (FXAND) in a sample of young PM individuals. Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted through a medical record review of PM individuals who were seen either for clinical concerns (probands, 45.9%) or identified through the cascade testing (non-probands, 54.1%) of an affected sibling with fragile X syndrome. Information on the presence of autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, long-term psychiatric medication intake, and cognitive function, based on standardized assessments, was obtained. Molecular data, including CGG repeat number and FMR1 mRNA levels, were also available for a subset of participants. Analysis included descriptive statistics and a test of comparison to describe the clinical profile of PM individuals pertinent to FXAND. Results: Participants included 61 individuals (52 males and 9 females) aged 7.8 to 20.0 years (mean 12.6 ± 3.4) with a mean full-scale IQ of 90.9 ± 22.7. The majority (N = 52; 85.2%) had at least one mental health disorder, with anxiety being the most common (82.0% of subjects), followed by ADHD (66.5%), and ASD (32.8%). Twenty-seven (87.1%) of non-probands also had at least one mental health condition, with probands having lower cognitive and adaptive skills than non-probands. ASD was present in 20 participants (17/52 males and 3/9 females; 15 probands) with significantly lower FSIQ in those with ASD (mean 73.5 vs. 98.0, p < 0.001). Participants with ASD had a higher number of long-term medications compared to those without (2.32 vs. 1.3, p = 0.002). Conclusions: Our findings indicate a high rate of FXAND diagnoses within a cohort of young PM individuals, including those identified via cascade testing, although this was not a population sample. An awareness of the entity of FXAND and the early recognition of the symptoms of associated conditions may facilitate timely and appropriate care for PM individuals.

Keywords: ASD; FMR1; FSIQ; Fragile X premutation; adolescent; anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / genetics
  • Female
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein / genetics
  • Fragile X Syndrome* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tremor / genetics


  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • FMR1 protein, human