Syndrome Phelan-McDermid: Trouble de la communication ou autisme?

  • Recherche,
  • Santé-Sciences-Technologie,
  • Santé-social,

le 31 août 2018

Publié dans Transl. Psychiatry

Projet de recherche collaborative dirigé par le Prof. Frédérique Bonnet-Brilhault.

22q13 deletion syndrome: communication disorder or autism? Evidence from a specific clinical and neurophysiological phenotype


Phelan-McDermid syndrome is related to terminal 22q13 deletions of various sizes affecting the SHANK3 gene. In this neurodevelopmental disorder, behavioural symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are reported in half of cases. Extensive clinical and neurophysiological characterization is lacking to understand the genotype-phenotype correlation. Eighteen patients (8 males, mean age 12.7 years, SD = 9.2) with known 22q13 deletions were fully explored with determination of deletion size, along with behavioural, language and cognitive standardized assessments. Neurophysiological indices previously reported to be altered in autism (i.e., eye tracking in a social/non-social task and auditory evoked potential mismatch) were also recorded. Thirty-nine percent met ASD clinical criteria, exceeding cut-off scores on both ADI-R (Autism Diagnosis Interview based on the period spanning 4-5 years of age) and ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule for the current period). All patients had intellectual disability and language disability. Deletion size was significantly correlated with expressive and receptive language disability but not with ASD standardized assessment scores. Developmental Quotient tended to be lower in patients with the largest deletions. Using Eye Tracking, smaller pupil size, which is typically described in ASD, was not observed in these patients. Furthermore, atypical shortened latency of mismatch negativity response previously reported in ASD was not observed, whereas the N250 pattern, related to language, was affected. Language disability combined with cognitive deficits may lead to autistic behavioural symptoms, but with different neurophysiological networks compared to typical autism. These results highlight the indication for early speech therapy rather than intensive autism programme to treat these patients.

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