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A case of Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome caused by a cryptic 11p15 deletion encompassing the centromeric imprinted domain of the BWS locus
  1. Marcella Zollino1,
  2. Daniela Orteschi1,
  3. Giuseppe Marangi1,
  4. Agostina De Crescenzo2,
  5. Vanna Pecile3,
  6. Andrea Riccio2,4,
  7. Giovanni Neri1
  1. 1Istituto di Genetica Medica, Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Policlinico “A.Gemelli”, Roma, Italy
  2. 2Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Seconda Università di Napoli, Caserta, Italy
  3. 3Unità di Citogenetica, IRCCS “Burlo Garofalo, Trieste, Italy
  4. 4Istituto di Genetica e Biofisica “A. Buzzati-Traverso”, CNR, Napoli, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Giovanni Neri, Istituto di Genetica Medica, Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Policlinico “A.Gemelli”, Largo F. Vito 1, Roma 00168, Italy; gneri{at}


Background Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is a clinically variable and genetically heterogeneous disorder, providing evidence that imprinted genes play key roles in the control of fetal growth. Clinically, diagnostic criteria include macrosomia, macroglossia, abdominal wall defects, neonatal hypoglycaemia, visceromegalies and hemihyperplasia. Component clinical manifestations also include renal abnormalities, adrenocortical cytomegaly and a characteristic facial appearance, with midface hypoplasia and ear anomalies. Genetically, BWS is associated with disturbances within two different domains on 11p15 that are controlled by distinct imprinting control regions (ICR), ICR1 and ICR2. The majority of patients have abnormalities within ICR2. In particular, loss of maternal methylation accounts for 50–60% of cases, and is associated with reduction in the expression of the CDKN1C gene, a member of the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor family acting as negative regulator of cell proliferation. Mutations in CDKN1C are detected in another 5–10% of subjects with sporadic BWS. Chromosome deletions affecting ICR2 are uncommon.

Methods and findings We report on a patient with BWS in which a de novo 11p15 deletion was detected by array comparative genomic hybridisation. Clinically, the patient presented with mild mental retardation and minor physical anomalies. The deletion, that was demonstrated to be maternal in origin by SNP array, encompassed ICR2 and several flanking genes, including CDKN1C. A normal methylation pattern of ICR1 was observed.

Conclusions This observation provides evidence that, among the genetic defects associated with BWS, a 11p15 microdeletion encompassing ICR2 identifies a peculiar clinical phenotype, with high recurrence risk in offspring of female carriers. It also supports the model of two independent domains within the BWS locus.

  • Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome
  • ICR2
  • microdeletion
  • genetics
  • molecular genetics

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  • The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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