The Aristaless-related homeobox (ARX) gene is located on the X chromosome and encodes a transcription factor that is essential for brain development. While the clinical spectrum of ARX-related disorders is well described in males, from X linked lissencephaly with abnormal genitalia syndrome to syndromic and non-syndromic intellectual disability (ID), its phenotypic delineation in females is incomplete. Carrier females in ARX families are usually asymptomatic, but ID has been reported in some of them, as well as in others with de novo variants. In this study, we collected the clinical and molecular data of 10 unpublished female patients with de novo ARX pathogenic variants and reviewed the data of 63 females from the literature with either de novo variants (n=10), inherited variants (n=33) or variants of unknown inheritance (n=20). Altogether, the clinical spectrum of females with heterozygous pathogenic ARX variants is broad: 42.5% are asymptomatic, 16.4% have isolated agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) or mild symptoms (learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, drug-responsive epilepsy) without ID, whereas 41% present with a severe phenotype (ie, ID or developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE)). The ID/DEE phenotype was significantly more prevalent in females carrying de novo variants (75%, n=15/20) versus in those carrying inherited variants (27.3%, n=9/33). ACC was observed in 66.7% (n=24/36) of females who underwent a brain MRI. By refining the clinical spectrum of females carrying ARX pathogenic variants, we show that ID is a frequent sign in females with this X linked condition.
- Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities
- Genetic Counseling
- Human Genetics
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MG and SH contributed equally.
Contributors DH is at the origin of this project. She initiated and supervised the project with the help of CM. SH and MG carried out the literature review, data collection and data analysis. These two authors contributed equally to the work and are both first authors. The other coauthors contributed by providing clinical information of the patients or analysing the genetic data, and reviewed the article with comments and modifications to improve it.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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