Spectrum of Δ7-dehydrocholesterol reductase mutations in patients with the Smith-Lemli-Opitz (RSH) syndrome

Hongwei Yu, Mi Hye Lee, Lena Starck, Ellen R. Elias, Mira Irons, Gerald Salen, Shailendra B. Patel*, G. Stephen Tint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS; also known as the RSH syndrome) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder, leading to characteristic multiorgan developmental abnormalities, dysmorphic facies, limb malformations and mental retardation. Mutations in the gene for Δ7-dehydrocholesteroI reductase (Δ7-reductase), which catalyzes the last step in cholesterol biosynthesis, cause the disease. We screened 32 patients with SLOS, 28 from the USA and four from Sweden. Twenty-two different nucleotide changes, predicted to be disease-causing mutations, were identified; 20 missense mutations, one nonsense mutation and one splice-site mutation involving the exon 9 acceptor site (IVS8 -1G→C) were detected. All probands were heterozygous for mutations. Twelve of these mutations have not been reported previously, including missense mutations L148R, F1681, D175H, P179L, P243R, F284L, N287K, F302L, R404S, Y462H, R469P and one nonsense mutation E37X. Coupled with previously reported mutations, these findings bring the total of different Δ7-reductase mutations to 36. These are distributed throughout the coding sequence of the Δ7-reductase gene except exons 3 and 5, with a clustering in exon 9. Three mutations account for 54% of those observed in our cohort, the splice acceptor site mutation IVS8 -1G→C (22/64 alleles, 34%), T93M (8/64, 12.5%) and V326L (5/64, 7.8%). Severity of SLOS was negatively correlated with both plasma cholesterol and relative plasma cholesterol, but not with 7-dehydrocholesterol, the immediate precursor, confirming previous observations. However, no correlation was observed between mutations and phenotype, suggesting that the degree of severity may be affected by other factors. We estimate that between 33 and 42% of the variation in the SLOS severity score is accounted for by variation in plasma cholesterol. Thus, factors other than plasma cholesterol are additionally involved in determining severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1385-1391
Number of pages7
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 22 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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