Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p
NORD is very grateful to Shashikant Kulkarni, PhD, Director of CytoGenomics and Molecular Pathology, Director of Clinical & Molecular Cytogenetics, Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Synonyms of Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p
- Tetrasomy, Short Arm of Chromosome 18
- No subdivisions found.
Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is a very rare chromosomal disorder in which the short arm of the 18th chromosome (18p) appears four times (tetrasomy) rather than twice in cells of the body. Individuals with a normal chromosomal make-up (karyotype) have two 18th chromosomes, both of which have a short arm ("18p") and a long arm ("18q"). However, in individuals with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p, four short arms (18ps) are present in cells of the body rather than the normal two.
The symptoms of Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p may vary from case to case. Many affected individuals may have abnormalities of the head and facial (craniofacial) area; malformations of the spine, hands, and/or feet; neuromuscular abnormalities, such as increased muscle tone (hypertonia), increased reflex reactions (hyperreflexia), and difficulty coordinating movement; kidney (renal) malformations; and/or additional physical abnormalities. In addition, children and adults with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p often exhibit moderate to severe mental retardation, limitations in speech, and/or behavioral abnormalities. In most cases, Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is the result of a spontaneous (de novo) genetic change (mutation) early in embryonic development that occurs for unknown reasons (sporadic).
Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is a very rare chromosomal disorder in which the short arm of chromosome 18 (18p) appears four times (tetrasomy) rather than twice in cells of the body. Symptoms may vary from case to case.
Many infants with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p have a low birthweight, feeding problems, and a tendency to vomit. If necessary calories and nutrients are not obtained, affected infants may fail to thrive as a result.
Most infants with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p have abnormalities of the head and facial (craniofacial) area. The fibrous joint (sagittal suture) between the bones that form the sides of the skull (parietal bones) may close prematurely (dolichocephaly), causing the head to appear unusually long and narrow; the head may also be abnormally small (microcephaly), and the two sides of the face may appear to be of unequal shape and/or size (facial asymmetry). Affected infants may also have an abnormally small mouth; a highly arched roof of the mouth (palate); an unusually small jaw (micrognathia); malformed (dysplastic), low-set ears; and/or a pinched nose. In rare cases, additional craniofacial abnormalities may include vertical skin folds on either side of the nose (epicanthal folds) that may cover the eyes' inner corners; eyes that are unusually close together (ocular hypotelorism); incomplete closure of the roof of the mouth (cleft palate); and/or overgrowth of the gums (gingival hypertrophy).
Individuals with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p often have several skeletal abnormalities. These may include a sideways curvative of the spine (scoliosis), sometimes occurring in association with a front-to-back curvative of the spine (kyphosis); an unusually small hipbone; and/or additional hip deformities (e.g., coxa valga). Many affected individuals exhibit malformations of the bones in the hands and/or feet, including fingers and/or toes that overlap and/or are unusually long, abnormally bent (clinodactyly), and/or webbed or fused (syndactyly). In some cases, the arches of the feet may also be flat (pes planus). Additional abnormalities of the hands may also be present, such as a single deep crease across the palms of the hands (simian crease) and/or absence of the horizontal ridges that are normally on the skin on the far end of the fingers (distal flexion ridges). Many affected individuals also tend to have a distinctive body shape, consisting of an abnormally thin build, narrow chest and shoulders, and unusually prominent bones and/or muscles (asthenic habitus).
In most people with Tetrasomy 18p, clusters of nerve fibers in the spinal cord (pyramidal tract) that help to regulate voluntary and reflex muscle activity may not function appropriately. As a result, affected individuals may exhibit several neuromuscular abnormalities, such as increased muscle tone (hypertonia); increased reflex reactions (hyperreflexia), including an abnormal reflex that consists of repeated flexing and relaxing of the foot (ankle clonus); and/or muscle stiffness and awkwardness in movement (spasticity). As affected people grow older, many may have an abnormal walking style (gait). In addition, in some individuals with Tetrasomy 18p, electrical disturbances may occur in the brain, causing involuntary tightening and relaxing (clonus) of specific muscles or muscle groups (motor seizures).
Many individuals with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p may also exhibit kidney (renal) abnormalities. For example, each kidney normally has a tube (ureter) that brings urine to the bladder. However, in some cases of Tetrasomy 18p, each kidney may have two such tubes (double ureter). If the double ureters fail to join together to become one tube before entering the bladder, one of the tubes may drain the urine in an inappropriate (ectopic) location. Blockage (obstruction) may result, causing an abnormal accumulation of urine in and swelling (distension) of the ureters (hydroureter) and kidneys (hydronephrosis). In addition, the other ureter may only be loosely embedded in the bladder, potentially causing backflow (reflux) of urine into the ureter, repeated bladder infections, and/or ureter blockage and hydronephrosis.
Other kidney abnormalities have also occurred in association with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p. For example, during normal development, the kidneys eventually "rotate" into their proper position in the back of the abdominal cavity. However, in some individuals with Tetrasomy 18p, the kidneys may not rotate into the appropriate position. As a result, the kidneys may be compressed by other organs that are also in the abdominal cavity, potentially causing abnormal renal function. In addition, in some cases of Tetrasomy 18p, the two kidneys may be united at the base, forming a horseshoe shape (horseshoe kidney); in such cases, kidney function is usually normal.
Some individuals with Tetrasomy 18p may have additional physical abnormalities. For example, at birth, some may have temporarily low levels of an antibody that helps fight infections (i.e., immunoglobulin A [IgA]). In addition, some individuals may exhibit a heart murmur and/or, in rare cases, failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum (cryptorchidism) in males.
In most cases, children and adults with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p also exhibit moderate to severe mental retardation, limited speech and vocabulary, and behavioral abnormalities.
Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is a rare chromosomal disorder in which the short arm of chromosome 18 (18p) appears four times (tetrasomy) rather than twice in cells of the body. Chromosomes are found in the nucleus of all body cells. They carry the genetic characteristics of each individual. Pairs of human chromosomes are numbered from 1 through 22, with an unequal 23rd pair of X and Y chromosomes for males and two X chromosomes for females. Each chromosome has a short arm designated as "p" and a long arm identified by the letter "q." Chromosomes are further subdivided into bands that are numbered.
Individuals with a normal chromosomal make-up (karyotype) have two 18th chromosomes, both of which consist of a short arm (18p), a long arm (18q), and a narrowed region at which the two arms are joined (centromere). However, people with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p have an extra chromosome known as an "isochromosome" that consists of two identical short arms (18ps) and a centromere. (An isochromosome is a chromosome with identical arms on each side of the centromere.) Therefore, a total of four short arms (18ps) are present in cells of the body rather than the normal two, resulting in the symptoms and physical findings that characterize this disorder.
In most affected individuals, Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p has resulted from a spontaneous (de novo) change very early in embryonic development that occurred for unknown reasons (sporadically). In such cases, the parents of the affected child usually have normal chromosomes and a relatively low risk of having another child with the chromosomal abnormality.
However, there have been rare cases in which a parent also has an extra 18p isochromosome in all or some cells (i.e., chromosomal mosaicism). (Chromosomal mosaicism describes cases in which only a percentage of cells contains the chromosomal abnormality while other cells have a normal chromosomal makeup.) In such instances, it is believed that Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p may have been inherited and that the chances are greater of having another child with the chromosomal abnormality. Chromosomal analysis and genetic counseling are recommended for parents of an affected child.
Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is a very rare chromosomal disorder that appears to affect males and females equally. Approximately 40 cases have been reported in the medical literature.
Symptoms of the following disorders may be similar to those of Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p. Comparisons may be useful for a differential diagnosis:
Chromosome 18, Trisomy 18 is a rare chromosomal disorder in which part or all of chromosome 18 appears three times (trisomy) rather than twice in all or some of the cells of the body. The disorder is often characterized by a low birthweight; feeding and breathing difficulties; failure to grow and gain weight at the expected rate (failure to thrive); developmental delays; and mental retardation. In addition, affected infants may have distinctive craniofacial abnormalities, such as an unusually long, narrow head (dolicocephaly) with a prominent back region (occiput); malformed, low-set ears; a small mouth; and/or a small jaw (micrognathia). Additional physical features may include structural heart defects, such as an abnormal opening in the fibrous partition that separates the two lower chambers of the heart (ventricular septal defects); kidney (renal) abnormalities, particularly horseshoe kidney and swelling of the ureters and kidneys with urine (hydroureter and hydronephrosis); undescended testes (cryptorchidism) in affected males; overlapping, flexed fingers; foot malformations; and/or other physical findings. The exact cause of Chromosome 18, Trisomy 18 is not fully understood. (For more information on this disorder, choose "Trisomy 18" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)
Additional chromosomal disorders may have features similar to those associated with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p. Chromosomal testing is necessary to confirm the specific chromosomal abnormality present. (For further information on such disorders, choose the name of the specific chromosomal disorder in question or use "chromosome" as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)
The diagnosis of Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p may be determined before birth (prenatally) by specialized tests such as ultrasound, fetal blood sampling, amniocentesis, and/or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). During fetal ultrasonography, reflected sound waves are used to create an image of the developing fetus. Ultrasound studies may reveal characteristic findings that suggest a chromosomal disorder or other developmental abnormalities in the fetus. During fetal blood sampling, blood is drawn with a needle that is guided via ultrasound into the umbilical vein. With amniocentesis, a sample of fluid that surrounds the developing fetus is removed and analyzed, while CVS involves the removal of tissue samples from a portion of the placenta. Chromosomal analysis performed on fluid or tissue samples (i.e., obtained via fetal blood sampling, amniocentesis, or CVS) may reveal the presence of Chromosome 18p Tetrasomy.
The disorder may also be diagnosed and/or confirmed after birth (postnatally) by a thorough clinical evaluation, the detection of characteristic physical findings, and standard or specialized chromosomal studies (e.g., fluorescence in situ hybridization [FISH]). Additional diagnostic tests may also be conducted to help detect and/or characterize certain abnormalities that may be associated with the disorder.
The treatment of Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is directed toward the specific symptoms that are apparent in each individual. Such treatment may include surgical repair of craniofacial, skeletal, renal, and/or other malformations that may be associated with the disorder. The specific surgical procedures performed will depend upon the severity and location of the anatomical abnormalities, their associated symptoms, and other factors.
Other treatment of Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p is symptomatic and supportive. A team approach may be helpful in ensuring that affected individuals reach their fullest potential. Such a team approach may include special remedial education, speech therapy, physical therapy, and other medical, social, or vocational services. Genetic counseling will also be of benefit for families of children with Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p.
Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.
For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:
Tollfree: (800) 411-1222
TTY: (866) 411-1010
For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:
Organizations related to Chromosome 18, Tetrasomy 18p
(Please note that some of these organizations may provide information concerning certain conditions potentially associated with this disorder [e.g., mental retardation, craniofacial abnormalities, kidney defects, etc.].)
Behrman RE, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 15th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company; 1996:283-84.
Wyngaarden JB, et al., eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company; 1992:613.
Buyse ML. Birth Defects Encyclopedia. Dover, MA: Blackwell Scientific Publications, Inc.; 1990:385-86.
Eggermann T, et al. Aberrations of chromosome 18 and their significance in genetic counseling. Orv Hetil. 2000;141:1667-71.
Habecker-Green JG, et al. Prenatal diagnosis and clinical features of an individual with tetrasomy 18p and trisomy 18q mosaicism. J Perinatol. 1998;18:395-98.
Eggermann T, et al. Tetrasomy 18p caused by paternal meiotic nondisjunction. Eur J Hum Genet. 1997;5:175-77.
Esmer MC, et al. Fluorescence in situ hybridization in 6 patients with alterations of chromosome 18 and in 7 with marker chromosomes. Rev Invest Clin. 1996;48:27-33.
Eggermann T, et al. Tetrasomy 18p de novo: identification by FISH with conventional and microdissection probes and analysis of parental origin and formation by short sequence repeat typing. Hum Genet. 1996;97:568-72.
Bugge M, et al. Tetrasomy 18p de novo: parental origin and different mechanisms of formation [published erratum appears in Eur J Hum Genet. 1996;4:291]. Eur J Hum Genet. 1996;4:160-67.
Esmer MC, et al. Tetrasomy 18p in two cases confirmation by in situ hybridization. Ann Genet. 1994;37:156-59.
Back E, et al. De novo isochromosome 18p in two patients: cytogenetic diagnosis and confirmation by chromosome painting. Clin Genet. 1994;45:301-04.
Abeliovich D, et al. Isochromosome 18p in a mother and her child. Am J Med Genet. 1993;46:392-93.
Mewar R, et al. Confirmation of isochromosome 18p using whole chromosome arm-specific fluorescence in situ hybridization. Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1993;64:1-4.
Park VM, et al. Diagnosis of tetrasomy 18p using in situ hybridization of a DNA probe to metaphase chromosomes. Am J Med Genet. 1991;41:180-83.
Callen DF, et al. The isochromosome 18p syndrome: confirmation of cytogenetic diagnosis in nine cases by in situ hybridization. Am J Hum Genet. 1990;47:493-98.
Singer TS, et al. Tetrasomy 18p in a child with trisomy 18 phenotype. Am J Med Genet. 1990;36:144-47.
Takeda K, et al. Sibs with tetrasomy 18p born to a mother with trisomy 18p. J Med Genet. 1989;26:195-97.
Rivera H, et al. Tetrasomy 18p: a distinctive syndrome. Ann Genet. 1984;27:187-89.
The information in NORD’s Rare Disease Database is for educational purposes only. It should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. NORD’s reports provide a brief overview of rare diseases. For more specific information, we encourage you to contact your personal physician or the agencies listed as “Resources” on this report.
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) web site, its databases, and the contents thereof are copyrighted by NORD. No part of the NORD web site, databases, or the contents may be copied in any way, including but not limited to the following: electronically downloading, storing in a retrieval system, or redistributing for any commercial purposes without the express written permission of NORD. Permission is hereby granted to print one hard copy of the information on an individual disease for your personal use, provided that such content is in no way modified, and the credit for the source (NORD) and NORD’s copyright notice are included on the printed copy. Any other electronic reproduction or other printed versions is strictly prohibited.
Copyright ©1996, 2001, 2009
Report last updated: 2009/04/10 00:00:00 GMT+0
NORD's Rare Disease Information Database is copyrighted and may not be published without the written consent of NORD.