Metatropic Dysplasia I is a rare genetic disorder characterized by extremely small stature, with short arms and legs. Other characteristics of this disorder are a narrow thorax, short ribs, and kyphoscoliosis (backward and sideways curvature of the spinal column) which develops into short trunk dwarfism.
Metatropic Dysplasia I is characterized by abnormal skeletal development. Patients with this disorder typically have short ribs, short deformed arms and legs, kyphoscoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) and extremely short stature. A long narrow thorax, bulging joints with limited mobility of the knees and hips, and unusual increased extension of the finger joints are typical features.
An unusually long torso, which later develops into short trunk dwarfism due to curvature of the spine, is an early feature of Metatropic Dysplasia I. The spine develops a forward hump-like curvature causing a humpback.
X-rays show growth insufficiency of the vertebral column with flattening of vertebrae and often growth insufficiency in the arm and leg bones at the hip and shoulder joints. A crescent-like iliac causing a hump at the end of the spine is also apparent.
Metatropic Dysplasia I can be inherited as an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive trait.
Human traits, including the classic genetic diseases, are the product of the interaction of two genes, one received from the father and one from the mother.
In dominant disorders, a single copy of the disease gene (received from either the mother or father) will be expressed “dominating” the other normal gene and resulting in the appearance of the disease. The risk of transmitting the disorder from affected parent to offspring is 50 percent for each pregnancy regardless of the sex of the resulting child.
In recessive disorders, the condition does not appear unless a person inherits the same defective gene for the same trait from each parent. If an individual receives one normal gene and one gene for the disease, the person will be a carrier for the disease, but usually will not show symptoms. The risk of transmitting the disease to the children of a couple, both of whom are carriers for a recessive disorder, is 25 percent. Fifty percent of their children risk being carriers of the disease, but generally will not show symptoms of the disorder. Twenty-five percent of their children may receive both normal genes, one from each parent, and will be genetically normal (for that particular trait). The risk is the same for each pregnancy.
Metatropic Dysplasia I is a very rare disorder that affects males and females in equal numbers.
Treatment of Metatropic Dysplasia I is symptomatic and supportive. When partial dislocation of the segments of the spinal column at the top of the spine (cervical vertebrae) is present, the joint between the two vertebrae can be fused together. This procedure should be done in order to prevent damage to the cervical part of the spinal cord.
Genetic counseling may be of benefit for patients and their families.
Research on birth defects and their causes is ongoing. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring the Human Genome Project which is aimed at mapping every gene in the human body and learning why they sometimes malfunction. It is hoped that this new knowledge will lead to prevention and treatment of genetic disorders in the future.
Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.
For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:
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O’Sullivan MJ, et al., Morphological observations in a case of lethal variant (type 1) metatropic dysplasia with atypical features: morphology of lethal metatropic dysplasia. Pediatr Dev Pathol. 1998;1:405-12.
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Yamashita S, et al., [A case of motor and sensory neuropathy associated with metatropic dysplasia]. No To Hattatsu. 1994;26:258-62. Japanese.
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(OMIM) McKusick VA, ed. Entry 250600, On-line Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM). Created; 6/4/86.
Latest Up-date; 3/9/94.