The spondylometaphyseal dysplasias (SMDs) are a group of short-stature disorders distinguished by abnormalities in the vertebrae and the metaphyses of the tubular bones. SMD Kozlowski type (SMDK) is a well-defined autosomal-dominant SMD characterized by significant scoliosis and mild metaphyseal abnormalities in the pelvis. The vertebrae exhibit platyspondyly and overfaced pedicles similar to autosomal-dominant brachyolmia, which can result from heterozygosity for activating mutations in the gene encoding TRPV4, a calcium-permeable ion channel. Mutation analysis in six out of six patients with SMDK demonstrated heterozygosity for missense mutations in TRPV4, and one mutation, predicting a R594H substitution, was recurrent in four patients. Similar to autosomal-dominant brachyolmia, the mutations altered basal calcium channel activity in vitro. Metatropic dysplasia is another SMD that has been proposed to have both clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Patients with the nonlethal form of metatropic dysplasia present with a progressive scoliosis, widespread metaphyseal involvement of the appendicular skeleton, and carpal ossification delay. Because of some similar radiographic features between SMDK and metatropic dysplasia, TRPV4 was tested as a disease gene for nonlethal metatropic dysplasia. In two sporadic cases, heterozygosity for de novo missense mutations in TRPV4 was found. The findings demonstrate that mutations in TRPV4 produce a phenotypic spectrum of skeletal dysplasias from the mild autosomal-dominant brachyolmia to SMDK to autosomal-dominant metatropic dysplasia, suggesting that these disorders should be grouped into a new bone dysplasia family.
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