Ullrich-Turner syndrome with a small ring X chromosome and presence of mental retardation

D. L. Van Dyke, A. Wiktor, C. G. Palmer, D. A. Miller, M. Witt, V. R. Babu, M. J. Worsham, J. R. Roberson, L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Since some patients with Ullrich-Turner syndrome (UTS) have mental retardation, we reviewed our experience to look for a high-risk subgroup. Among 190 UTS and gonadal dysgenesis patients with X chromosome abnormalities, 12 had mental retardation. All of the six (100%) with a small ring X were educable (EMI) or trainable mentally impaired (TMI) with more severe delay than expected in UTS. Among the 184 with other X abnormalities, only 6 had similar delays (2 from postnatal catastrophes), for a frequency of 3.3% mental retardation among those without a small ring X; only 2.2% of these had unexplained mental retardation. Polymerase chain reaction studies showed no Y-derived material in the 2 patients who were evaluated, and in situ hybridization confirmed X origin of the ring in the 6 subjects who were evaluated. We describe the phenotype of the 6 individuals with a small ring X, and an additional 2 patients with a small ring X who were identified outside the survey. The subjects with a small ring X comprised a clinically distinct subgroup which had EMI/TMI and shorter stature than expected in UTS. Seizures and a head circumference <10th centile were observed in half of the patients with a small ring X, and strabismus, epicanthus, and single palmar creases were present in more than half. A 'triangular' face in childhood, pigmentary dysplasia, sacral dimple, and heart defects were also common. Neck webbing appeared to be less frequent than in 45,X. We hypothesize that the high risk of mental retardation in this form of the UTS results from lack of lyonization of the ring X due to loss of the X inactivation center. Excluding those with a small ring X, mental retardation is not significantly increased in patients with UTS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)996-1005
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992


  • X chromosomal abnormalities
  • educable-trainable mentally impaired
  • gonadal dysgenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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