Distinctive Menkes disease variant with occipital horns: delineation of natural history and clinical phenotype

Am J Med Genet. 1996 Oct 2;65(1):44-51. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19961002)65:1<44::AID-AJMG7>3.0.CO;2-Y.


To delineate further the clinical spectrum of Menkes disease, an X-linked recessive disorder of copper transport, we studied 4 related males, ranging in age from 4-38 years, with a unique phenotype that combines manifestations of classical and mild Menkes disease and occipital horn syndrome (OHS). The propositus, and 18-year-old man, was evaluated following an intracerebral hemorrhage at age 15 years and was noted to have marked hypotonia, motor delay with mental retardation, bladder diverticula, failure to thrive, and diarrhea from infancy; seizures from age 3 years; and abnormal hair (pili torti) and face, cutis laxa, and multiple joint dislocations. Radiographic abnormalities included occipital exostoses, tortuous cerebral blood vessels with multiple branch occlusions, and hammer-shaped clavicles. Biochemical studies demonstrated reduced copper and ceruloplasmin levels in serum, and abnormal plasma catecholamine ratios. We reported previously the molecular defect in this family, a splice-site mutation that predicts formation of approximately 20% of the normal Menkes gene product [Kaler et al., 1994: Nat Genet 18:195-202]. Here, we detail the clinical course and physical features and radiographic findings in these 4 individuals, and compare their phenotype with classical and mild Menkes and OHS. Unusual Menkes disease variants such as this may escape recognition due to anomalies that appear inconsistent with the diagnosis, particularly prolonged survival and later onset of seizures. Males with mental retardation and connective tissue abnormalities should be evaluated for biochemical evidence of defective copper transport.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / genetics
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Exostoses / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Menkes Kinky Hair Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Menkes Kinky Hair Syndrome / genetics
  • Menkes Kinky Hair Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Occipital Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Radiography