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Reviewed October 2008
What is Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
Weill-Marchesani syndrome is a disorder of connective tissue. Connective tissue forms the body's supportive framework, providing structure and strength to the muscles, joints, organs, and skin.
The major signs and symptoms of Weill-Marchesani syndrome include short stature, eye abnormalities, unusually short fingers and toes (brachydactyly), and joint stiffness. Adult height for men with Weill-Marchesani syndrome ranges from 4 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 6 inches. Adult height for women with this condition ranges from 4 feet, 3 inches to 5 feet, 2 inches.
An eye abnormality called microspherophakia is characteristic of Weill-Marchesani syndrome. This term refers to a small, sphere-shaped lens, which is associated with progressive nearsightedness (myopia). The lens also may be positioned abnormally within the eye (ectopia lentis). Many people with Weill-Marchesani syndrome develop glaucoma, an eye disease that increases the pressure in the eye and can lead to blindness.
Occasionally, heart defects or an abnormal heart rhythm can occur in people with Weill-Marchesani syndrome.
How common is Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
Weill-Marchesani syndrome appears to be rare; it has an estimated prevalence of 1 in 100,000 people.
What genes are related to Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
Mutations in the ADAMTS10 and FBN1 genes can cause Weill-Marchesani syndrome. The ADAMTS10 gene provides instructions for making a protein whose function is unknown. This protein is important for normal growth before and after birth, and it appears to be involved in the development of the eyes, heart, and skeleton. Mutations in this gene disrupt the normal development of these structures, which leads to the specific features of Weill-Marchesani syndrome.
A mutation in the FBN1 gene has been found to cause Weill-Marchesani syndrome in one large family. The FBN1 gene provides instructions for making a protein called fibrillin-1. This protein is needed to form threadlike filaments, called microfibrils, that help provide strength and flexibility to connective tissue. The FBN1 mutation responsible for Weill-Marchesani syndrome leads to an abnormally short, nonfunctional version of fibrillin-1. Researchers believe that this genetic change interferes with the normal assembly of microfibrils, which weakens connective tissue and causes the abnormalities associated with Weill-Marchesani syndrome.
In some people with Weill-Marchesani syndrome, no mutations in ADAMTS10 or FBN1 have been found. Researchers are looking for other genetic changes that may be responsible for the disorder in these people.
How do people inherit Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
Weill-Marchesani syndrome can be inherited in either an autosomal recessive or an autosomal dominant pattern.
When Weill-Marchesani syndrome is caused by mutations in the ADAMTS10 gene, it has an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. Autosomal recessive inheritance means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Other cases of Weill-Marchesani syndrome, including those caused by mutations in the FBN1 gene, have an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Autosomal dominant inheritance means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. In most cases, an affected person inherits the genetic change from one parent with the condition.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of Weill-Marchesani 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 Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
You may find the following resources about Weill-Marchesani 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 Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
What if I still have specific questions about Weill-Marchesani 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 Weill-Marchesani syndrome?
autosomal ; autosomal dominant ; autosomal recessive ; brachydactyly ; cell ; congenital ; connective tissue ; ectopia lentis ; gene ; glaucoma ; inheritance ; joint ; microfibrils ; mutation ; myopia ; nearsightedness ; pattern of inheritance ; prevalence ; protein ; recessive ; short stature ; stature ; syndrome ; tissue
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (7 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.