This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome is a multi-system disorder that is characterized by extremely weak muscle tone (hypotonia) in infancy and early childhood, intellectual disability, distinctive facial features, sparse hair, areas of unusual skin coloring (pigmentation), and other birth defects. The signs and symptoms of Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome can vary, although most documented cases of people with the syndrome have severe to profound intellectual disability and other serious health problems.
Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome is usually caused by the presence of an abnormal extra chromosome 12 called isochromosome 12p. An isochromosome is a chromosome with two identical arms. Normal chromosomes have one long (q) arm and one short (p) arm, but isochromosomes have either two q arms or two p arms. Isochromosome 12p is a version of chromosome 12 made up of two p arms. Cells normally have two copies of each chromosome, one inherited from each parent. In people with Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome, cells have the two usual copies of chromosome 12, but some cells also have the isochromosome 12p. These cells have a total of four copies of all the genes on the p arm of chromosome 12. The extra genetic material from the isochromosome disrupts the normal course of development, causing the characteristic features of this disorder.
Although Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome is usually caused by an isochromosome 12p, other, more complex chromosomal changes involving chromosome 12 are responsible for the disorder in rare cases.
Treatment depends upon the specific symptoms present in each individual. Treating medical and developmental problems early can help to optimize outcome.
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