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Deletion of a 760 kb region at 4p16 determines the prenatal and postnatal growth retardation characteristic of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome
  1. Daniela Concolino1,*,
  2. Elena Rossi2,*,
  3. Pietro Strisciuglio1,
  4. Maria Antonietta Iembo1,
  5. Roberto Giorda3,
  6. Roberto Ciccone2,
  7. Romano Tenconi4,
  8. Orsetta Zuffardi2,5
  1. 1Cattedra di Pediatria, Università “Magna Graecia”di Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy
  2. 2Biologia Generale e Genetica Medica, Università di Pavia, Pavia, Italy
  3. 3IRCCS E. Medea, Bosisio Parini, Lecco, Italy
  4. 4Genetica Medica, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy
  5. 5IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Orsetta Zuffardi
 Biologia Generale e Genetica Medica, Via Forlanini, 14 - 27100 Pavia I, Italy; zuffardi{at}


Background: Recently the genotype/phenotype map of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS) has been refined, using small 4p deletions covering or flanking the critical region in patients showing only some of the WHS malformations. Accordingly, prenatal-onset growth retardation and failure to thrive have been found to result from haploinsufficiency for a 4p gene located between 0.4 and 1.3 Mb, whereas microcephaly results from haploinsufficiency of at least two different 4p regions, one of 2.2–2.38 Mb and a second one of 1.9–1.28 Mb.

Methods and Results: We defined the deletion size of a ring chromosome (r(4)) in a girl with prenatal onset growth retardation, severe failure to thrive and true microcephaly but without the WHS facial gestalt and mental retardation. A high-resolution comparative genome hybridisation array revealed a 760 kb 4p terminal deletion.

Conclusions: This case, together with a familial 4p deletion involving the distal 400 kb reported in normal women, may narrow the critical region for short stature on 4p to 360–760 kb. This region is also likely to contain a gene for microcephaly. “In silico” analysis of all genes within the critical region failed to reveal any strikingly suggestive expression pattern; all genes remain candidates for short stature and microcephaly.

  • CGH, comparative genomic hybridisations
  • FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridisation
  • WHS, Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome

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  • * The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Parental informed consent was obtained for publication of figure 1.

    Ethics approval granted by Università “Magna Graecia” di Catanzaro, Catanzara, Italy.