A review of structural brain abnormalities in Pallister-Killian syndrome

Cathryn Poulton, Gareth Baynam, Clarissa Yates, Hamid Alinejad-Rokny, Simon Williams, Helen Wright, Karen J. Woodward, Soruba Sivamoorthy, Joanne Peverall, Peter Shipman, David Ravine, John Beilby, Julian Ik-Tsen Heng

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11 Citations (Scopus)



Pallister-Killian syndrome (PKS) is a rare multisystem developmental syndrome usually caused by mosaic tetrasomy of chromosome 12p that is known to be associated with neurological defects.


We describe two patients with PKS, one of whom has bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria (PMG), the other with macrocephaly, enlarged lateral ventricles and hypogenesis of the corpus callosum. We have also summarized the current literature describing brain abnormalities in PKS.


We reviewed available cases with intracranial scans (n=93) and found a strong association between PKS and structural brain abnormalities (77.41%; 72/93). Notably, ventricular abnormalities (45.83%; 33/72), abnormalities of the corpus callosum (25.00%; 18/72) and cerebral atrophy (29.17%; 21/72) were the most frequently reported, while macrocephaly (12.5%; 9/72) and PMG (4.17%; 3/72) were less frequent. To further understand how 12p genes might be relevant to brain development, we identified 63 genes which are enriched in the nervous system. These genes display distinct temporal as well as region-specific expression in the brain, suggesting specific roles in neurodevelopment and disease. Finally, we utilized these data to define minimal critical regions on 12p and their constituent genes associated with atrophy, abnormalities of the corpus callosum, and macrocephaly in PKS.


Our study reinforces the association between brain abnormalities and PKS, and documents a diverse neurogenetic basis for structural brain abnormalities and impaired function in children diagnosed with this rare disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular genetics & genomic medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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