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Geleophysic dysplasia

Geleophysic dysplasia

Reviewed December 2009

What is geleophysic dysplasia?

Geleophysic dysplasia is an inherited condition that affects many parts of the body. It is characterized by abnormalities involving the bones, joints, heart, and skin.

People with geleophysic dysplasia have short stature with very short hands and feet. Most also develop thickened skin and joint deformities called contractures, both of which significantly limit mobility. Affected individuals usually have a limited range of motion in their fingers, toes, wrists, and elbows. Additionally, contractures in the legs and hips cause many affected people to walk on their toes.

The name of this condition, which comes from the Greek words for happy ("gelios") and nature ("physis"), is derived from the good-natured facial appearance seen in most affected individuals. The distinctive facial features associated with this condition include a round face with full cheeks, a small nose with upturned nostrils, a broad nasal bridge, a thin upper lip, upturned corners of the mouth, and a flat area between the upper lip and the nose (philtrum).

Geleophysic dysplasia is also characterized by heart (cardiac) problems, particularly abnormalities of the cardiac valves. These valves normally control the flow of blood through the heart. In people with geleophysic dysplasia, the cardiac valves thicken, which impedes blood flow and increases blood pressure in the heart. Other heart problems have also been reported in people with geleophysic dysplasia; these include a narrowing of the artery from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary stenosis) and a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart (atrial septal defect).

Other features of geleophysic dysplasia can include an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) and recurrent respiratory and ear infections. In severe cases, a narrowing of the windpipe (tracheal stenosis) can cause serious breathing problems. As a result of heart and respiratory abnormalities, geleophysic dysplasia is often life-threatening in childhood. However, some affected people have lived into adulthood.

How common is geleophysic dysplasia?

Geleophysic dysplasia is a rare disorder whose prevalence is unknown. More than 30 affected individuals have been reported.

What genes are related to geleophysic dysplasia?

Geleophysic dysplasia results from mutations in the ADAMTSL2 gene. This gene provides instructions for making a protein whose function is unclear. The protein is found in the extracellular matrix, which is the intricate lattice of proteins and other molecules that forms in the spaces between cells. Studies suggest that the ADAMTSL2 protein may play a role in the microfibrillar network, which is an organized clustering of thread-like filaments (called microfibrils) in the extracellular matrix. This network provides strength and flexibility to tissues throughout the body.

Mutations in the ADAMTSL2 protein likely change the protein's 3-dimensional structure. Through a process that is poorly understood, ADAMTSL2 gene mutations alter the microfibrillar network in many different tissues. Impairment of this essential network disrupts the normal functions of cells, which likely contributes to the varied signs and symptoms of geleophysic dysplasia. Researchers are working to determine how mutations in the ADAMTSL2 gene lead to short stature, heart disease, and the other features of this condition.

Read more about the ADAMTSL2 gene.

See a list of genes associated with geleophysic dysplasia.

How do people inherit geleophysic dysplasia?

This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.

Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of geleophysic dysplasia?

These resources address the diagnosis or management of geleophysic dysplasia and may include treatment providers.

You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of geleophysic dysplasia in Educational resources and Patient support.

General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.

To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about geleophysic dysplasia?

You may find the following resources about geleophysic dysplasia helpful. These materials are written for the general public.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for geleophysic dysplasia?

  • geleophysic dwarfism

For more information about naming genetic conditions, see the Genetics Home Reference Condition Naming Guidelines and How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.

What if I still have specific questions about geleophysic dysplasia?

Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?

What glossary definitions help with understanding geleophysic dysplasia?

References (9 links)


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Reviewed: December 2009
Published: February 8, 2016