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  • Author: Marianna Di Frenna x
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Tiziana de Filippis, Federica Marelli, Maria Cristina Vigone, Marianna Di Frenna, Giovanna Weber, and Luca Persani

Objectives: To verify the involvement of NKX2-1 gene in infants with brain-lung-thyroid (BLT) syndrome and hypothyroid phenotypes variable among congenital hypothyroidism (CH) or idiopathic mild hypothyroidism (IMH) of postnatal onset. Methods: The candidates were selected by a case-finding approach in 130 CH and 53 IMH infants. The NKX2-1 gene was analyzed by direct sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. The variants were studied in vitro, by expression analyses and luciferase bioassay. Results: Four cases (3 CH and 1 IMH) consistent with BLT syndrome were identified. Two children were affected with respiratory distress and CH, but wild-type NKX2-1 gene. The remaining two presented choreic movements and no pulmonary involvement, but discrepant thyroid phenotypes: one had severe CH with lingual ectopy and the other one IMH with gland in situ. They were carriers of new de novo heterozygous frameshift mutations of NKX2-1 (c.177delG and c.153_166del14). The c.177delG leads to a prematurely truncated protein (p.H60TfsX11) with undetectable activity in vitro. The c.153_166del14 leads to the generation of an elongated aberrant protein (p.A52RfsX351) able to translocate into the nucleus, but completely inactive on a responsive promoter. Conclusions: Two novel heterozygous frameshift mutations of NKX2-1 were identified in 2 cases selected on the basis of a BLT-like phenotype among 183 hypothyroid infants. The atypical hypothyroid phenotypes of these 2 children (CH with lingual ectopy or IMH of postnatal onset) further expand the clinical spectrum that can be associated with NKX2-1 mutations.