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Keywords:

  • CHD7 gene;
  • familial CHARGE syndrome;
  • heterogeneity;
  • missense mutation;
  • nonsense mutation

CHARGE syndrome (OMIM #214800) is a multiple malformation syndrome with distinctive diagnostic criteria, usually because of CHD7 (chromodomain helicase DNA binding 7) haploinsufficiency. Familial occurrence of CHARGE syndrome is rare. We report six patients from two Caucasian families (both with one parent and two children) affected by mild to severe CHARGE syndrome. Direct sequencing of the CHD7 gene was performed in these two unrelated families. A mutation in exon 8 (c.2501C>T – p.S834F) in first chromodomain was found in family A and a nonsense mutation in exon 2 (c.469C>T – p.R157X) in family B. Both mutations are de novo in the parents. In family A, the elder son had bilateral cleft lip and palate, esophageal atresia with fistula, complex heart defect and vertebral abnormalities, while the younger had a posterior coloboma. Their mother had asymptomatic vestibular dysfunction and retinal coloboma, identified after the molecular diagnosis of her children. In family B, both affected children had severe expression of CHARGE syndrome. The father carrying the mutation only had asymmetric anomaly of the pinnae. These familial reports describe the intrafamilial variability of CHARGE syndrome, and underline the presence of CHD7 mutations in patients who do not fit the ‘classical clinical criteria’ for CHARGE syndrome.