Pitt-Hopkins syndrome is an emerging neurodevelopmental disorder caused by haploinsufficiency of the TCF4 gene on chromosome 18q21. It is characterized by severe intellectual disability, seizures, microcephaly, constipation and a distinctive facial gestalt. Although the overlapping phenotype of microcephaly, epilepsy, absent speech and constipation represents a challenge for the differential diagnosis with Angelman syndrome, Rett syndrome and Mowat-Wilson syndrome, distinctive of Pitt-Hopkins syndrome are breathing abnormalities, that can occur as either hyperventilation episodes or apnea crises, and a typical facial dysmorphism, including bitemporal narrowing, squared forehead, deep-set eyes, peculiar nose conformation, with broad nasal bridge, down-turned nasal tip and flaring nostrils, typical shape of the mouth, with a tented and M shaped upper lip, and widely spaced teeth. The occurrence of these signs in variable association of uncoordinated movements, microcephaly of postnatal onset, eye abnormalities, constipation, epilepsy and subtle brain abnormalities is highly predictive of a TCF4 mutation, making it possible to plan a genetic test of choice among severe encephalopathies. Angelman syndrome represents the nosological condition closest to Pitt-Hopkins syndrome.
Marangi, G., Zollino, M., Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome and Differential Diagnosis: A Molecular and Clinical Challenge, <<JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC GENETICS>>, 2015; 4 (3): 168-176. [doi:10.1055/s-0035-1564570] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/93852]