Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN 1) is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by neoplasia of the parathyroid glands, the endocrine pancreas, and the anterior pituitary gland. In addition, families with isolated endocrine neoplasia, notably familial isolated hyperparathyroidism (FIHP) and familial acromegaly, have also been reported. However, whether these families constitute MEN 1 variants or separate entities remains speculative as the genetic bases for these diseases are unclear. The gene for MEN 1 has recently been cloned and characterized. Using single strand conformation analysis (SSCA) and sequencing, we performed mutation analysis in: a) a total of 55 MEN 1 families from 7 countries, b) 13 isolated MEN 1 cases without family history of the disease, c) 8 acromegaly families, and d) 4 FIHP families. Mutations were identified in 27 MEN 1 families and 9 isolated cases. The 22 different mutations spread across most of the 9 translated exons and included frameshift (11), nonsense (6), splice (2), missense mutations (2), and in-frame deletions (1). Among the 19 Finnish MEN 1 probands, a 1466del12 mutation was identified in 6 families with identical 11q13 haplotypes and in 2 isolated cases indicating a common founder. One frameshift mutation caused by 359del4 (GTCT) was found in 1 isolated case and 4 kindreds of different origin and haplotypes; this mutation therefore represents a common "warm" spot in the MEN1 gene. By analyzing the DNA of the parents of an isolated case one mutation was confirmed to be de novo. No mutation was found in any of the acromegaly and small FIHP families, suggesting that genetic defects other than the MEN1 gene might be involved and that additional such families need to be analyzed.