This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
22q13.3 deletion syndrome, also known as Phelan-McDermid syndrome, is a chromosome disorder caused by the loss (deletion) of a small piece of chromosome 22. The deletion occurs near the end of the long arm (or q arm) of the chromosome at a location designated as q13.3. Not everyone with 22q13.3 deletion syndrome will have the same medical, developmental, or behavioral problems (features). Common problems include low muscle tone (hypotonia), intellectual disability, developmental delays especially delayed or absent speech, and tendency to overheat. Children may be tall and thin. Differences in other physical features are usually mild and may include long eyelashes, down slanting eyes, large ears, ears without normal folding, bulb-like tip of nose, pointed chin, large hands, and toenails that flake off as infants and then become hard and brittle as age. Additional medical problems may include gastrointestinal problems such as chronic diarrhea, constipation, or gastroesophageal reflux, seizures, delayed fine motor skills, changes in the way the brain developed, kidney problems especially vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), vision problems such as strabismus, swelling of arms or legs (lymphedema) during teen years, and recurrent infections, especially ear infections. Unusual behaviors may include mouthing or chewing on non-food items, decreased perception of pain, and autistic-like behaviors such as flapping of hands and repetitive motions.
Most reported cases of 22q13.3 deletion syndrome are caused by 22q13.3 deletions, which usually includes many genes. The loss or the variation (mutation) of a particular gene on chromosome 22, called the SHANK3 gene, is likely responsible for many of the common features associated with 22q13.3 deletion syndrome, especially intellectual disability, speech problems, low muscle tone, and developmental delay. Additional genes within the deleted area probably contribute to other features of the syndrome. In most cases, a larger deletion increases the number and severity of associated features, especially the severity of low muscle tone, developmental delay, differences in physical features, speech, and autism-like behavior. Smaller deletions located closer to the tip of the 22q seem to be associated with fewer medical, developmental, and behavioral problems.
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