The Neu-Laxova syndrome (NLS) is a rare autosomal recessive and early lethal disorder. It is characterized by severe intra-uterine growth retardation, abnormal facial features, ichthyotic skin lesions and severe central nervous system malformations, especially microlissencephaly. Others characteristic features associated with fetal hypokinesia sequence, including arthrogryposis, subcutaneous edema and pulmonary hypoplasia, are frequently reported in NLS.
The clinicopathological characteristics of NLS are described in three cases with striking prenatal diagnostic findings and detailed post-mortem examinations. A review of the literature is undertaken with a focus on molecular basis.
We present three new patients with NLS: one stillbirth male and two female newborns, delivered at 29, 35 and 40 weeks of gestational age, respectively. Characteristic ultrasound findings included hydramnios, severe intra-uterine growth restriction, craniofacial and cental nervous system anomalies. The cytogenetic study, performed in one case, was normal. The post-mortem examination revealed characteristic abnormalities in all three cases, that allowed to make a prompt diagnosis of the NLS. Data from these patients suggest that the NLS represents a heterogeneous phenotype. This feature has been highlighted in the literature.
The SNL is a lethal developmental disorder characterized by phenotypic heterogeneity with striking neurological defects. It is underpinned by genetic heterogeneity. It can be caused by mutations in all three genes involved in de novo L-serine biosynthesis: PHGDH, PSAT1 and PSPH. Hence, the NLS constitutes the most severe end of already known human disease, i.e. serine-deficiency disorder.