Objective: NEUROD1 is expressed in both the developing and the mature beta cells. Studies in mice suggest this basic helix–loop–helix transcription factor is critical in the development of endocrine cell lineage. Heterozygous mutations have previously been identified as a rare cause of maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). We aimed to explore the potential contribution of NEUROD1 mutations in patients with permanent neonatal diabetes.
Research Design and Methods: We sequenced the NEUROD1 gene in 44 unrelated patients with permanent neonatal diabetes of unknown genetic etiology.
Results: Two homozygous mutations in NEUROD1 (c.427_428del and c.364dupG) were identified in two patients. Both mutations introduced a frameshift which would be predicted to generate a truncated protein completely lacking the activating domain. Both patients had permanent diabetes diagnosed in the first 2 months of life with no evidence of exocrine pancreatic dysfunction and a morphologically normal pancreas on abdominal imaging. In addition to diabetes, they had learning difficulties, severe cerebellar hypoplasia, profound sensorineural deafness, and visual impairment due to severe myopia and retinal dystrophy.
Conclusions: We describe a novel clinical syndrome that results from homozygous loss of function mutations in NEUROD1. It is characterized by permanent neonatal diabetes and a consistent pattern of neurological abnormalities including cerebellar hypoplasia, learning difficulties, sensorineural deafness, and visual impairment. This syndrome highlights the critical role of NEUROD1 in both the development of the endocrine pancreas and central nervous system in humans.
- Received January 5, 2010.
- Accepted June 20, 2010.
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