ABSTRACT: Beals-Hecht syndrome or congenital contractural arachnodactyly (CCA) is a rare, autosomal dominant connective tissue disorder characterized by crumpled ears, arachnodactyly, contractures, and scoliosis. Recent reports also mention aortic root dilatation, a finding previously thought to differentiate the condition from Marfan syndrome (MFS). In many cases, the condition is caused by mutations in the fibrillin 2 gene (FBN2) with 26 mutations reported so far, all located in the middle region of the gene (exons 23-34). We directly sequenced the entire FBN2 gene in 32 probands clinically diagnosed with CCA. In 14 probands, we found 13 new and one previously described FBN2 mutation including a mutation in exon 17, expanding the region in which FBN2 mutations occur in CCA. Review of the literature showed that the phenotype of the FBN2 positive patients was comparable to all previously published FBN2-positive patients. In our FBN2-positive patients, cardiovascular involvement included mitral valve prolapse in two adult patients and aortic root enlargement in three patients. Whereas the dilatation regressed in one proband, it remained marked in a child proband (z-score: 4.09) and his father (z-score: 2.94), warranting echocardiographic follow-up. We confirm paradoxical patellar laxity and report keratoconus, shoulder muscle hypoplasia, and pyeloureteral junction stenosis as new features. In addition, we illustrate large intrafamilial variability. Finally, the FBN2-negative patients in this cohort were clinically indistinguishable from all published FBN2-positive patients harboring a FBN2 mutation, suggesting locus heterogeneity. Hum Mutat 30, 334-341, 2009. (C) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Human Mutation. 01/2009; 30(3):334-341.