Netherton syndrome (NTS) is a rare autosomal recessive multisystem disorder characterized by congenital erythroderma and ichthyosis, hair shaft abnormalities and immune dysregulation. The disorder is caused by deleterious mutations in the SPINK5 gene, encoding the serine protease inhibitor LEKTI.Our objective was to investigate if the erythrodermic variant of peeling skin syndrome is also caused by SPINK5 mutations and to study the consequences of the disease on infantile brain development.In an infant with extensive erythroderma, peeling skin and failure to thrive, we analyzed the SPINK5 gene for pathogenic mutations by direct DNA sequencing and performed repeated brain MRI studies with diffusion-weighted imaging.We identified a homozygous 4-base-pair insertion in exon 5 of SPINK5, which introduces a premature termination codon and appears to be a common mutation among West Indies islanders. MRI analyses revealed a persistent diffuse volume loss.Our results confirm that early truncation mutations of the coding sequence of SPINK5 produce a severe phenotype and that generalized peeling skin is one of the manifestations of NTS. We further demonstrate for the first time that NTS may be associated with MRI abnormalities indicative of a permanent tissue injury of the brain.
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View details for PubMedID 15942217