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Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.

Authors
  • DeBarber, Andrea E
  • Eroglu, Yasemen
  • Merkens, Louise S
  • Pappu, Anuradha S
  • Steiner, Robert D
Type
Published Article
Journal
Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2011
Volume
13
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1017/S146239941100189X
PMID: 21777499
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) is an autosomal recessive, multiple congenital malformation and intellectual disability syndrome, with clinical characteristics that encompass a wide spectrum and great variability. Elucidation of the biochemical and genetic basis for SLOS, specifically understanding SLOS as a cholesterol deficiency syndrome caused by mutation in DHCR7, opened up enormous possibilities for therapeutic intervention. When cholesterol was discovered to be the activator of sonic hedgehog, cholesterol deficiency with inactivation of this developmental patterning gene was thought to be the cause of SLOS malformations, yet this explanation is overly simplistic. Despite these important research breakthroughs, there is no proven treatment for SLOS. Better animal models are needed to allow potential treatment testing and the study of disease pathophysiology, which is incompletely understood. Creation of human cellular models, especially models of brain cells, would be useful, and in vivo human studies are also essential. Biomarker development will be crucial in facilitating clinical trials in this rare condition, because the clinical phenotype can change over many years. Additional research in these and other areas is critical if we are to make headway towards ameliorating the effects of this devastating condition.

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