Achondrogenesis is a number of disorderw which are the most severe form of congenital chondrodysplasia (malformation of bones and cartilage). These conditions are characterized by a small body, short limbs, and other skeletal abnormalities. As a result of their serious health problems, infants with achondrogenesis are usually born prematurely, are stillborn, or die shortly after birth from respiratory failure. Some infants, however, have lived for a while with intensive medical support. more...
Researchers have described at least two forms of achondrogenesis, designated as type 1B and type 2. These types are distinguished by their signs and symptoms, inheritance pattern, and genetic cause. Other types of achondrogenesis may exist, but they have not been characterized or their cause is unknown.
Achondrogenesis, type 1B is characterized by extremely short limbs, a narrow chest, and a prominent, rounded abdomen. The fingers and toes are short and the feet may be rotated inward. Affected infants frequently have a soft out-pouching around the belly-button (an umbilical hernia) or near the groin (an inguinal hernia).
Achondrogenesis, type 1B is a rare genetic disorder; its incidence is unknown. Achondrogenesis, type 1B is the most severe condition in a spectrum of skeletal disorders caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene. This gene provides instructions for making a protein that is essential for the normal development of cartilage and for its conversion to bone. Mutations in the SLC26A2 gene disrupt the structure of developing cartilage, preventing bones from forming properly and resulting in the skeletal problems characteristic of achondrogenesis, type 1B.
Achondrogenesis, type 1B is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means two copies of the gene in each cell are altered. Most often, the parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive disorder are carriers of one copy of the altered gene but do not show signs and symptoms of the disorder.
Infants with achondrogenesis, type 2 have short arms and legs, a small chest with short ribs, and underdeveloped lungs. This condition is also associated with a lack of bone formation (ossification) in the spine and pelvis. Typical facial features include a prominent forehead, a small chin, and, in some cases, an opening in the roof of the mouth (a cleft palate). The abdomen is enlarged, and affected infants often have a condition called hydrops fetalis in which excess fluid builds up in the body before birth.
Achondrogenesis, type 2 and hypochondrogenesis (a similar skeletal disorder) together affect 1 in 40,000 to 60,000 births. Achondrogenesis, type 2 is one of several skeletal disorders caused by mutations in the COL2A1 gene. This gene provides instructions for making a protein that forms type II collagen. This type of collagen is found mostly in cartilage and in the clear gel that fills the eyeball (the vitreous). It is essential for the normal development of bones and other tissues that form the body's supportive framework (connective tissues). Mutations in the COL2A1 gene interfere with the assembly of type II collagen molecules, which prevents bones and other connective tissues from developing properly.
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