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INTRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT. The term X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) refers to a heterogeneous group of conditions that, on the basis of their presenting symptoms, have traditionally been classified as being syndromic (SMR) and non-syndromic or non-specific (XMR). The prevalence of XLMR in males is estimated to be 10%, excluding fragile X syndrome, which is the most common monogenic cause. There are over 100 genes involved in XLMR. In this work we review some of the phenotypes and genes involved in SMR. A small stature and coarse features indicate a suspected case of Coffin-Lowry syndrome, which is secondary to mutations of the RPS6KA3 or RSK2 genes. Cerebellar hypoplasia points towards alterations of the OPHN1 gene. In males with coarse features and genital abnormalities screening for alpha thalassemia must be carried out; this association results from mutations in the ATRX gene. Of the genes involved in mental retardation and epilepsy, the most notable are SLC6A8 (which triggers a deficit in creatine transport when altered and which is easily detected with respect to its biochemistry) and ARX (also associated to lissencephaly and dystonia of the hands). Mutations in the PQBP1 and JARID1C genes have been identified in patients with mental retardation associated to microcephaly and short stature. A high level of T3 hormone points towards defects in the SLC16A2 gene. Some of these genes have also been implicated in XMR, which makes this distinction less clear molecularly speaking.
CONCLUSIONS. Systematic screening of all the genes involved in XLMR is not possible in clinical praxis today. It is important to search for differential phenotypic features in males with mental retardation that guide the study towards specific genes. Identification of the molecular defect will allow for correct genetic counselling. DNA microarrays for the study of different mutations in a large number of genes involved in mental retardation are the great hope for the future.
Syndromic X linked mental retardationX linked mental retardationNeuropediatríaNeuropsiquiatría