Congenital limb anomalies are outcome of improper bone formation during embryonic development when cells divide, differentiate with high rate. So, telomerase activity is essential to maintain telomere length for such highly dividing cells. Here, we report four cases of congenital limb anomalies with detailed structures of limbs along with other clinical manifestations of age less than two years. We compared telomere length, expression of telomerase and telomere-associated genes of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC) in patient and four age-matched normal individual.
Patient-1 was diagnosed with congenital limb hypogenesis ectrodactyly sequence, an autosomal dominant disorder, showing absence of digits and fibula in upper and lower limb respectively. Both mother and grandmother of Patient-1 showed similar hypogenesis of limbs. Patient-2 showed bilateral clenched hand with arthrogryposis, microcephaly and holoprosencephaly. Both Patient-3 and Patient-4 has no radius in upper limb. Additionally, Paient-3 showed right sided orbital Space Occupying Lesion (SOL) and Paranasal Sinuses (PNS) whereas Patient-4 showed fused kidney with fanconi anaemia. Furthermore, all the patients showed shorter telomere length, inactive telomerase and de-regulated expression of telomere-associated proteins in PBMC compared with age-matched control group.
So, we can conclude that congenital limb anomalies may be linked with telomeropathy and a study with large number of samples is required to firmly establish such association.