Anorectal malformations (ARM) are rare congenital malformations of the gastrointestinal tract. Approximately 60 % of the patients have additional congenital malformations, such as hypospadias. A recently published article showed that deletion of one single gene, dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor-1 (Dkk1), resulted in an imperforate anus with rectourinary fistula and preputial hypospadias in mice. To determine whether DKK1 also plays a role in the etiology of ARM and hypospadias in humans, we sequenced the four exons of the DKK1 gene in 17 patients affected with both ARM and hypospadias. No new potential disease-causing variant was identified. However, we detected a known non-synonymous variant in one patient, which was predicted in silico to be damaging, and the corresponding unaffected amino acid is highly conserved. Conclusion: In this human study, a potential interesting non-synonymous variant was found in the DKK1 gene. Whether this variant plays a contributory role in the genesis of ARM or hypospadias would require a much larger study.

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European Journal of Pediatrics
Department of Pediatric Surgery

van de Putte, R., Wijers, C., de Blaauw, I., Feitz, W., Marcelis, C., Hakobjan, M., … van der Zanden, L. (2015). Sequencing of the DKK1 gene in patients with anorectal malformations and hypospadias. European Journal of Pediatrics, 174(5), 583–587. doi:10.1007/s00431-014-2436-x