Challenging behavior in smith-lemli-opitz syndrome: initial test of biobehavioral influences.

*Division of Psychology, Institute on Development & Disability †Department of Pediatrics ‡Division of Occupational Therapy, Institute on Development & Disability §Department of Pediatrics ¶Department of Molecular Medical Genetics, Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.
Cognitive and behavioral neurology: official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.14). 03/2013; 26(1):23-9. DOI: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e31828bf6d5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT : To study challenging behavior (destruction, aggression, self-injury, stereotypy) in children with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) using a biobehavioral model that helps distinguish biological from socially mediated variables influencing the behavior.
: SLOS is an autosomal-recessive syndrome of multiple malformations and intellectual disability resulting from a genetic error in cholesterol synthesis in all cells and tissues, including brain. The exact cause of the challenging behavior in SLOS is unclear, but defective brain cholesterol synthesis may contribute. Because the precise genetic and biochemical etiology of SLOS is known, this disorder is a good model for studying biological causes of challenging behavior.
: In a preliminary application of a biobehavioral model, we studied the association between cholesterol levels (as a biochemical indicator of disease severity) and behavior subtype ("biological" vs "learned") in 13 children with SLOS. Parents completed a questionnaire that categorized challenging behavior as influenced primarily by social or nonsocial (thus, presumably biological) factors.
: The severity of the cholesterol synthesis defect correlated significantly with behavior subtype classification for 1 of 2 challenging behaviors. Greater severity of the cholesterol synthesis defect was associated with behavior being classified as primarily influenced by biological factors.
: The interplay between challenging behavior and defective cholesterol synthesis in SLOS may help explain biological influences on the behavior. Our findings have implications for research on the effectiveness of behavioral and medical treatments for behavioral difficulties in SLOS and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS) is a malformation syndrome inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion. It is due to a metabolic defect in the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to cholesterol, which leads to an accumulation of 7-dehydrocholesterol and frequently a deficiency of cholesterol. The syndrome is characterized by typical dysmorphic facial features, multiple malformations, and intellectual disability. In this paper we provide an overview of the clinical phenotype and discuss how the manifestations of the syndrome vary depending on the age of the patients. We then explore the underlying biochemical defect and pathophysiological alterations that may contribute to the many disease manifestations. Subsequently we explore the epidemiology and succinctly discuss population genetics as they relate to SLOS. The next section presents the diagnostic possibilities. Thereafter, the treatment and management as is standard of care are presented. Even though the knowledge of the underlying molecular mutations and the biochemical alterations is being rapidly accumulated, there is currently no efficacious therapy addressing neurological dysfunction. We discuss the difficulty of treating this disorder, which manifests as a combination of a malformation syndrome and an inborn error of metabolism. A very important factor in developing new therapies is the need to rigorously establish efficacy in controlled trials.
    02/2015; 3(3). DOI:10.1517/21678707.2015.1014472
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective To quantitatively evaluate feeding impairment in children with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) and to correlate feeding impairment with clinical and biochemical indices of disease severity. Study design The study subjects were 26 children with SLOS ranging in age from 0.4 to 19 years. Clinical severity was measured using an existing scoring system. We created a tool to quantitatively evaluate feeding. Plasma sterol concentrations were measured, and statistical associations (correlations) with feeding scores were calculated. Results Oral hyposensitivity or hypersensitivity, adverse behaviors, and risk for dysphagia were seen in ∼65% of the children with SLOS. Thirteen of the 26 children experienced failure to thrive, and 10 children required gastrostomy. Plasma concentration of 7-dehydrocholesterol, as a measure of severity, was correlated with total feeding score and oral function subcategory score (P < .001) and less so with oral structure score, adverse behaviors, or dysphagia. Correlations with cholesterol concentrations were less statistically significant. A plasma 7-dehydrocholesterol concentration >0.24 mmol/L or cholesterol concentration <1.95 mmol/L was predictive of gastrostomy tube use. Feeding impairments may improve with age. Conclusion Feeding impairment is common and complex in patients with SLOS. Our findings confirm that oral sensitivities, adverse feeding behaviors, and risk of oral phase dysphagia are amenable to quantitative evaluation and analysis. Feeding difficulties in children with SLOS are correlated with plasma sterol concentrations, suggesting a link between the biochemical severity of SLOS and feeding function. These findings expand the behavioral phenotype of SLOS and begin to provide insight into the biological causes of feeding difficulties.
    Journal of Pediatrics 10/2014; 165(4). DOI:10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.06.010 · 3.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cholesterol plays a key role in many cellular processes, and is generated by cells through de novo biosynthesis or acquired from exogenous sources through the uptake of low-density lipoproteins. Cholesterol biosynthesis is a complex, multienzyme-catalyzed pathway involving a series of sequentially acting enzymes. Inherited defects in genes encoding cholesterol biosynthetic enzymes or other regulators of cholesterol homeostasis result in severe metabolic diseases, many of which are rare in the general population and currently without effective therapy. Historically, these diseases have been viewed as discrete disorders, each with its own genetic cause and distinct pathogenic cascades that lead to its specific clinical features. However, studies have recently shown that three of these diseases have an unanticipated mechanistic convergence. This surprising finding is not only shedding light on details of cellular cholesterol homeostasis but also suggesting novel approaches to therapy.
    Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 08/2014; 15:173-94. DOI:10.1146/annurev-genom-091212-153412 · 9.13 Impact Factor