Desmosterolosis is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of elevated levels of the cholesterol precursor desmosterol in plasma, tissue and cultured cells. With only two sporadic cases described to date with two very different phenotypes, the clinical entity arising from mutations in 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24) has yet to be defined. We now describe consanguineous Bedouin kindred with four surviving affected individuals, all presenting with severe failure to thrive, psychomotor retardation, microcephaly, micrognathia and spasticity with variable degree of hand contractures. Convulsions near birth, nystagmus and strabismus were found in most. Brain MRI demonstrated significant reduction in white matter and near agenesis of corpus callosum in all. Genome-wide linkage analysis and fine mapping defined a 6.75 cM disease-associated locus in chromosome 1 (maximum multipoint LOD score of six), and sequencing of candidate genes within this locus identified in the affected individuals a homozygous missense mutation in DHCR24 leading to dramatically augmented plasma desmosterol levels. We thus establish a clear consistent phenotype of desmosterolosis (MIM 602398).
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