Phenotypic variability in monozygotic twins with neurofibromatosis 2

Am J Med Genet. 1996 Sep 6;64(4):563-7. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19960906)64:4<563::AID-AJMG7>3.0.CO;2-Q.


Mutations in the neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 22q12 cause a clinically variable autosomal dominant syndrome characterized by bilateral vestibular schwannomas (VSs), other nervous system tumors, and early onset lenticular cataracts. We studied three pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins with NF2, all with bilateral VSs, to separate genetic from nongenetic causes of clinical variability. The evaluation included gadolinium-enhanced high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of the head and spine, neuro-ophthalmic examination with slit lamp, physical examination, and zygosity testing with microsatellite markers. Each MZ pair was concordant for general phenotypic subtype (mild or severe) and often for the affected organ systems. However, the MZ pairs were discordant for some features of disease presentation or progression. For example, all three pairs were discordant for presence or type of associated cranial tumors. We hypothesize that phenotypic differences between NF2 MZ twins are at least partly due to stochastic processes, such as the loss of the second NF2 allele or alleles of other genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, Neurofibromatosis 2 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / genetics*
  • Phenotype