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Reviewed June 2006
What is Muenke syndrome?
Muenke syndrome is a condition characterized by the premature closure of certain bones of the skull (craniosynostosis) during development, which affects the shape of the head and face.
Many people with this disorder have a premature fusion of skull bones along the coronal suture, the growth line which goes over the head from ear to ear. Other parts of the skull may be malformed as well. These changes can result in an abnormally shaped head, wide-set eyes, and flattened cheekbones. About 5 percent of affected individuals have an enlarged head (macrocephaly). People with Muenke syndrome may also have mild abnormalities of the hands or feet, and hearing loss has been observed in some cases. Most people with this condition have normal intellect, but developmental delay and learning disabilities are possible.
The signs and symptoms of Muenke syndrome vary among affected people, and some findings overlap with those seen in other craniosynostosis syndromes. Between 6 percent and 7 percent of people with the gene mutation associated with Muenke syndrome do not have any of the characteristic features of the disorder.
How common is Muenke syndrome?
Muenke syndrome occurs in about 1 in 30,000 newborns. This condition accounts for an estimated 8 percent of all cases of craniosynostosis.
What genes are related to Muenke syndrome?
Mutations in the FGFR3 gene cause Muenke syndrome.
The FGFR3 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is involved in the development and maintenance of bone and brain tissue. A single mutation in the FGFR3 gene is responsible for Muenke syndrome. This mutation causes the FGFR3 protein to be overly active, which interferes with normal bone growth and allows the bones of the skull to fuse before they should.
Read more about the FGFR3 gene.
How do people inherit Muenke syndrome?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder.
In some cases, an affected person inherits the mutation from one affected parent. Other cases result from new mutations in the gene and occur in people with no history of the disorder in their family.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of Muenke syndrome?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of Muenke syndrome and may include treatment providers.
General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about Muenke syndrome?
You may find the following resources about Muenke syndrome helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for Muenke syndrome?
What if I still have specific questions about Muenke syndrome?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding Muenke syndrome?
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (4 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.