The L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) is a protein encoded by a gene that has been localized to Xq28, is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily of neuronal cell adhesion molecules, and plays a role in CNS development and maturation. L1CAM is expressed in neurons and Schwann cells, where it is active in neurite overgrowth, adhesion fasciculation, migration, myelination, and axon guidance. Mutations within the gene have been associated with phenotypic changes that include hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis, agenesis or hypoplasia of the corpus callosum and corticospinal tracts, mental retardation, spastic paraplegia, and adducted thumbs. Here, we present a 19-year-old primigravida Caucasian woman who was referred to us in the 27th week of the pregnancy because of fetal polyhydramnios and ventriculomegaly. Our evaluation identified a male fetus with hydrocephalus, ventriculomegaly, aqueductal stenosis, and polyhydramnios. An amniocentesis was performed, and isolated fetal DNA revealed a hemizygous G > C mutation in codon 2809 of exon 21 of the L1CAM gene. The patient was later tested and identified to be a carrier of the same mutation. The fetus was delivered during the 38th week. Neonatal physical examination revealed marked frontal bossing, contractures of the feet with rocker bottom appearance, and hyperactive reflexes with ankle and knee clonus. He died at 4 months of life.
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