Cyclopia (synophthalmia) in Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome: First reported case and consideration of mechanism

David D. Weaver, Benjamin D. Solomon, Kelly Akin-Samson, Richard I. Kelley, Maximilian Muenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Here we present a 24-week fetus with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS), alobar holoprosencephaly (HPE) and cyclopia (synophthalmia). Following birth, we suspected SLOS in this fetus due to the additional findings of ambiguous genitalia and bilateral 2-3 toe syndactyly. The diagnosis of SLOS was confirmed by finding an elevated amniotic fluid 7-dehydrocholesterol level (9,890 ng/ml; normal range=3-9 ng/ml), and molecularly by detecting two different mutations in the DHCR7 gene, the gene causing SLOS. The first mutation was an IVS8-1G>T change and the second was a deletion of exons 3 and 4; this latter mutation has not been reported previously. The mother carries the deletion, while the father carries the splice-site mutation. Also of note, the father has an abnormally low total plasma cholesterol level (104-109 mg/dl). This is the most severe case of HPE described in any patient with SLOS. We postulate that the HPE in this case resulted from severe impairment of Sonic Hedgehog signaling secondary to abnormal cholesterol metabolism; however, the unique combination of mutations in the fetus functionally appears to be no different from other homozygous null mutations reported in DHCR7. Therefore, there must be other yet to be identified factors that contributed to the severity of HPE in SLOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-145
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 15 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • 7-dehydrocholesterol
  • Birth defects
  • Cholesterol
  • Cyclopia
  • Holoprosencephaly
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
  • Synophthalmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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