This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Holoprosencephaly is an abnormality of brain development in which the brain doesn’t properly divide into the right and left hemispheres. The condition can also affect development of the head and face. There are 4 types of holoprosencephaly, distinguished by severity. From most to least severe, the 4 types are alobar, semi-lobar, lobar, and middle interhemispheric variant (MIHV). In general, the severity of any facial defects corresponds to the severity of the brain defect. The most severely affected people have one central eye (cyclopia) and a tubular nasal structure (proboscis) located above the eye. In the less severe forms, the brain is only partially divided, and the eyes usually are set close together. Other signs and symptoms often include intellectual disability and pituitary gland problems. Holoprosencephaly can be caused by mutations in any of at least 14 different genes; chromosome abnormalities; or agents that can cause birth defects (teratogens). It may also be a feature of several unique genetic syndromes. In many cases, the exact cause is unknown. Life expectancy for people with this condition varies, and treatment depends on the symptoms and severity in each person.
For more information, visit GARD.