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Keywords:

  • cartilage-hair hypoplasia;
  • genetic mutations;
  • metaphyseal dysplasia;
  • RMRP gene;
  • single-nucleotide polymorphisms

Mutations in the RMRP gene that codes for an RNA subunit of the MRP RNAse complex are the cause of cartilage-hair hypoplasia (CHH; MIM 250250). We tested the hypothesis that recessive metaphyseal dysplasia without hypotrichosis (M1M 250460), a disorder presenting with short stature and metaphyseal dysplasia similar to CHH, but lacking hair anomalies, immunodeficiency and other extra skeletal features, might be allelic to CHH. We identified four mutation-carrying alleles segregating with the skeletal phenotype in two unrelated boys and their parents. One allele carried the common Finnish mutation +70A [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] G; the remaining three carried +195C [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] T, +238C [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] T, and dupAAGCTGAGGACG at −2Sequencing 120 alleles from a control group revealed an unusually high density of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in and around the RMRP gene: the biological significance of this finding is unclear.

We conclude that recessive metaphyseal dysplasia without hypotrichosis is a variant of CHH, manifesting only as short stature and metaphyseal dysplasia. Precise diagnosis of this form of metaphyseal dysplasia is not without importance because of recessive inheritance with corresponding recurrence risk, as well as because of potential complications such as anaemia, susceptibility to infections and the increased likelihood of developing cancer. The short stature and metaphyseal changes associated with cone-shaped epiphyses of the hands should raise the diagnostic possibility of a CHH-related disorder that can then be confirmed by mutation analysis.