Scientifica / 2012 / Article

Review Article | Open Access

Volume 2012 |Article ID 152365 |

Philip F. Giampietro, "Genetic Aspects of Congenital and Idiopathic Scoliosis", Scientifica, vol. 2012, Article ID 152365, 15 pages, 2012.

Genetic Aspects of Congenital and Idiopathic Scoliosis

Academic Editor: S. Rasmussen
Received10 Oct 2012
Accepted11 Nov 2012
Published31 Dec 2012


Congenital and idiopathic scoliosis represent disabling conditions of the spine. While congenital scoliosis (CS) is caused by morphogenic abnormalities in vertebral development, the cause(s) for idiopathic scoliosis is (are) likely to be varied, representing alterations in skeletal growth, neuromuscular imbalances, disturbances involving communication between the brain and spine, and others. Both conditions are characterized by phenotypic and genetic heterogeneities, which contribute to the difficulties in understanding their genetic basis that investigators face. Despite the differences between these two conditions there is observational and experimental evidence supporting common genetic mechanisms. This paper focuses on the clinical features of both CS and IS and highlights genetic and environmental factors which contribute to their occurrence. It is anticipated that emerging genetic technologies and improvements in phenotypic stratification of both conditions will facilitate improved understanding of the genetic basis for these conditions and enable targeted prevention and treatment strategies.

1. Introduction

Advances in developmental biology have enabled improvements in the understanding of spine development and have provided contributions that enhance our understanding of genetic and environmental factors that are associated with congenital and idiopathic scoliosis. This paper will focus on salient features of both forms of scoliosis and highlight research focusing on genetic and environmental mechanisms for their occurrence.

2. Definitions and Epidemiology of Scoliosis

Idiopathic scoliosis (IS) is defined by the Scoliosis Research Society ( as a lateral curvature of the spine of 10° or greater for which no cause can be determined. There is evidence that genetic and environmental factors are likely to play a role in the occurrence of both as described herin, although the mechanism responsible for this is uncertain at the present time. This rotational deformity is measured in the forward bending position by an inclinometer, and the scoliometer as an angle of trunk rotation (ATR).

The incidence of idiopathic scoliosis (IS) in the general population ranges from 2% to 3%, varying with the definition of the magnitude of the curve. Population studies indicate that 11.1% of 1st degree relatives are affected, compared to 2.4% of 2nd degree, and 1.1% of 3rd degree relatives [1]. By age 16, 0.6% of affected people will have required active treatment with a full-time thoracolumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO) or surgical correction with instrumentation [2, 3]. Older IS subclassification is based on the age of presentation categorized as: (1) infantile (birth to age 3 years), (2) juvenile (age 3 to 11 years), and (3) adolescent (11 years and older).

These subclassifications are sometimes useful clinically, but have no established genetic basis. Age-specific genetic markers have not been identified for IS, and the current concept of scoliosis is that the disorder develops continuously between the juvenile years and adolescence. Hence, in this paper, the term IS is used in most situations without attempt to distinguish juvenile and adolescent subtypes. The incidence of IS for treatable curves defined as 25° or greater is greater in females than in males with a ratio of 2 : 1, respectively. Gender differences may underlie scoliotic curve progression.

Congenital scoliosis (CS) is a form of spinal curvature which is due to the presence of an underlying congenital vertebral malformation (CVM).

The estimated frequency of CVM in the general population is in the range of 0.13–0.5/1,000 [4]. Vertebral malformations most commonly include hemivertebrae (half of a vertebrae), additional vertebrae, vertebral bar (an abnormality of vertebral separation during development), butterfly, and wedge-shaped vertebrae illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. Vertebral malformations may represent an isolated finding, occur in association with other renal, cardiac, or spinal cord malformations, or occur as part of an underlying syndrome or chromosomal abnormality. Autopsy of fetuses with anencephaly and myelomeningocele demonstrates the presence of cervical and thoracic CVM, suggesting a related etiology for both neural tube defects and CVM [5].

Frequently encountered syndromes associated with CVM include the following:(i)Alagille syndrome (peripheral pulmonic stenosis, cholestasis, facial dysmorphism);(ii)Jarcho-Levin syndrome (short trunk dwarfism, multiple vertebral and rib defects with posterior rib fusion);(iii)Klippel-Feil syndrome (short neck, low posterior hairline, and fusion of cervical vertebrae), hemifacial microsomia (associated with craniofacial anomalies including microtia);(iv)Goldenhar syndrome (hemifacial microsomia and epibulbar dermoids); and (v)VACTERL syndrome (vertebral malformations, anal atresia, cardiac malformations, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal, and radial anomalies, and limb defects).

3. Vertebral Development and Genes Involved

Vertebral bodies are derived from somites through a recurrent process of budding off from the presomitic mesoderm mediated by cyclical expression of FGF, Wnt, and Notch signaling pathway genes [8]. A “clock and wavefront” model for somitogenesis was originally proposed by Cooke and Zeeman in 1976 [9]. In this model the “clock” represents an oscillator which connects presomitic mesodermal cells, and the “wave” represents a region of “rapid cellular change” in which transition to somite development occurs, presumably mediated by some type of gradient.

A similar mechanism of oscillation amongst members of the Hes/Her/Hairy family of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcriptional repressors has been reported in mice, chicken, and zebrafish, providing evidence for conservation of the oscillator in vertebrates [1013]. A molecular oscillator regulates the Notch, Fgf, and Wnt signaling pathways in which the Notch and Fgf genes oscillate in opposite phase to the Wnt genes [14]. Wnt3a signaling mediated by which controls the oscillatory signaling in the Notch pathway [15]. Following periodic activation of Notch 1, Notch intracellular domain (NICD), the cleaved form of the Notch 1 receptor, translocates to the nucleus. NICD activates transcription of multiple target genes including Hairy/Hes/Her genes, Lunatic fringe (Lfng), and Notch-related ankyrn repeat protein (Nrap) [14, 16, 17].

A stripe of expression of genes occurs in response to the periodic clock signal at a region referred to as the determination front, which is defined by opposing retinoic acid (RA), FGF, and Wnt signaling gradients, posteriorly regressing as the embryo elongates along the anterior-posterior axis [15, 18, 19] Figure 3. The exposure of cells in the posterior presomitic mesoderm to high levels of FGF and Wnt activity enables the maintenance of an undifferentiated state [20, 21]. Below the determination front, cells are capable of responding to the segmentation clock through the activation of boundary specific genes Mesp2 and Riply [2123]. Wnt3a provides a crucial function in both the clock and wavefront portions associated with somitogenesis and through Msgn1 plays a major role in the segmentation clock through regulation of Notch and Wnt signaling pathways [24]. As a result of active Wnt signaling, active Wnt signaling, Msgn1 and Wnt targets are expressed. A phase lag allows for Msgn1 to activate Notch related genes. RA plays an important role in the preservation of spine symmetry through its buffering action of the Left-Right pathway which creates asymmetry through the action of Nodal [25]. Since the majority of patients with IS exhibit a spinal curve to the right, an underlying defect in left-right asymmetry has been hypothesized [26].

4. Teratogens Associated with CVM

Various maternal exposures during pregnancy including alcohol use [27], anticonvulsant medications such as valproic acid [2830], hyperthermia [31], maternal insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and gestational diabetes [3234] have been observed to be associated with the occurrence of CVM in animal models and humans. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in glucose metabolizing genes including GLUT1, HK1, and LEP are postulated to be related to the occurrence of malformations observed in diabetic embryopathy. The occurrence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been proposed as a mechanism for altered somitogenesis in diabetic embryopathy [35]. Mutations in the planar cell polarity gene, CELSR1 (Caherin, EGF Lag Seven Pass G-Type Receptor 1–3), have been identified in patients with either neural tube defects or caudal agenesis [36]. Mutations in planar cell polarity genes are associated with a shortened body axis, widened neural plate, and neural tube defects [37]. CVM have been observed in laboratory animals exposed to I (Kr)-blockers (class III anti-arrhythmic agent), zinc deficient diet, the organophosphate pesticide chlopyrifos fumonisins (environmental toxins produced Fusarium moniliforme (F. verticilliodes), F. proliferatum, and other Fusarium species of molds), during pregnancy [3840].

Fish with vertebral deformities and abnormal mechanical vertebral properties were produced following exposure of juvenile fourhorn sculpin, Myoxocephalus quadricornis L. to tetrachloro-1, 2-benzoquinone, a component in bleached kraft mill effluents [41]. Exposure to carbon monoxide[42] and boric acid are associated with alterations in HOX-mediated gene expression [43]. Retinoic acid, a vitamin A analogue, has been observed to cause homeotic transformations in mice and axial skeletal truncation in the Dominant hemimelia (dh) mouse, suggesting a possible relationship between retinoic acid signaling and the dh gene [44]. Increased axial skeletal defects and apoptosis were associated with inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) production or the addition of NO to developing chick embryos [45]. Low birth weight, decreases in successive births, and behavioral deficits replicated by carbon monoxide alone in animal models have been reported to occur in conjunction with cigarette smoking during pregnancy [46, 47]. Cigarette smoke generation of ROS resulting in somite anoxic damage could potentially contribute to the development of CVM.

The occurrence of CS in monozygotic twins [48] is consistent with an observed increased risk for congenital malformations in both monozygotic and dizygotic twins [49]. Congenital malformations and syndromes including Prader-Willi, Angelman, and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndromes have been linked to assisted reproductive technology (ART) [50]. Methyl donor content of the growth media has been suggested as a possible mechanism of CVM occurrence in ART-assisted pregnancies, and nutritional factors have been implicated for their occurrence in non-ART pregnancies, suggesting a possible relationship between epigenetic factors and CVM. Similar to other birth defects, CVM often represent sporadic occurrences making epigenetic factors another plausible mechanism for investigation.

Hyperthermia has been associated with CVM development. Heat shock proteins are recruited when there is exposure to nonteratogenic doses of heat (<2°C) which provide protection for proteins against subsequent damage by teratogenic doses of heat (>2°C). Heat shock proteins attach to uncovered active sites, thus preventing their binding with other functionally impaired aggregate proteins [51]. Hyperthermia results in inhibition of the cell cycle and induces apoptosis. Although the exact mechanism responsible for altered somitogenesis associated with heat is uncertain, Notch/Delta signaling pathway proteins may undergo alteration(s) and result in abnormal vertebral patterning.

Presently there are no reported studies which describe the relative contribution of maternal exposures to CVM development. In a series of 206, 244 live births, still births, and elective terminations, a total of 5 cases of isolated hemivertebrae, and 22 cases of hemivertebrae with other birth defects were identified [52]. The most common maternal exposure associated with CVM was maternal diabetes (5 cases) followed by twinning (2 cases).

5. Classification of CVM

A classification scheme for CVM which is simple and unified is essential for clinicians and researchers to describe individual and collective CVM from both a phenotypic and genetic etiologic vantage point. A number of classification schemes for CVM have been proposed which have individually focused upon different components associated with CVM, an occurrence including a developmental basis for CVM, [53, 54] syndromic diagnosis of CVM (i.e. spondylocostal dysostosis, Klippel-Feil, etc.) [5456], and mode of inheritance [57]. Recently a proposed pilot classification system by the International Consortium for Vertebral Anomalies (CVM) and Scoliosis (ICVAS) was outlined algorithmically in Figure 4 [58]. A category of vertebral segmentation defects (VSDs) may be defined as a single (SVSD) or multiple (MVSD). Known syndromes such as hemifacial microsomia or VACTERL may be associated with an SVSD. MVSDs are defined as generalized when there is involvement of 10 or greater contiguous vertebral bodies and may represent a defined phenotype such as spondylocostal dysostosis or spondylothoracic dysostosis, or an undefined phenotype. Alternatively, MSVD may have a regional distribution and be associated with a defined or undefined phenotype. Since prior usage of the term “Jarcho Levin syndrome” has been associated with a wide range of inconsistent skeletal features, and has been used indiscriminately, ICVAS has recommended that this term not be used. A high degree of inter observer reliability has been noted with the proposed classification system, which provides a basis for future cohort genetic analysis of similar CVM phenotypes.

6. Monogenic CVM

Mutations in Notch signaling genes have been identified in two monogenic forms of CVM. Spondylocostal dysostosis (SCD) is an autosomal recessive disorder, with occasional autosomal dominant inheritance. Radiographically, SCD is characterized by contiguous vertebral segmentation defects in addition to rib abnormalities Figure 5. Affected individuals have disproportionate short stature, characterized by a shortened trunk and protuberant abdomen. Associated features include scoliosis and mild respiratory compromise. Mutations in DLL3, a Notch pathway signaling gene, were identified in Arab-Israeli and Pakistani kindreds using synteny conversion analysis [59]. Mutations in Notch signaling pathway genes, including MESP2 [60], LFNG [61], and HES7, have subsequently been identified [62]. The term “pebble beach” sign refers to morphologically abnormal vertebral bodies characterized by a smooth, round contour, usually associated with the presence of a DLL3 mutation [63]. Hypoplasia of the left vertebral artery has been reported in one affected individual with a compound heterozygous mutation in HES7 (158D/V186Y).

Spondylothoracic dysostosis (STD) is an autosomal recessive disorder of vertebral segmentation with a clinical phenotype of disproportionate short stature, with increased thoracic anterior posterior diameter. STD has a radiographic appearance characterized by the presence of posterior rib fusion, also referred to as a “crab like thorax,” as illustrated in Figure 6 [64]. There is some degree of respiratory compromise due to the presence of the short thoracic cage. STD is caused by mutations in the MESP2 gene, and has a prevalence of 1/12,000 in the Puerto Rican population, with a suggestion of a founder effect of the E103X (p.Glu103X) mutation among Puerto Ricans [65]. Only 25% of affected children with STD survive into adolescence and adulthood, indicating that the degree of respiratory compromise is more severe in STD as compared to SCD. Thoracic insufficiency syndrome is associated with STD and is associated with underlying diminished lung volume and chest wall stiffness. CVM can be associated with a variety of syndromes as shown in Table 1.

SyndromeOMIM referenceCorresponding gene(s)

Acrofacial dysostosis*263750
Alagille118450JAGGED1, NOTCH2
Atelosteogenesis III108721FLNB
Campomelic dysplasia114290SOX9
Caudal regression*182940
Cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia*213980
DeLa Chapelle*256050
DeGeorge/Sedlackova188400Microdeletion, 10p13-p14, 22q11.2,
Femoral hypoplasia-unusual facies*134780
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive135100ACVR1
Goldenhar*(Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum)164210
Incontinentia Pigmenti308300NEMO
Kabuki 147920MLL2
KBG Syndrome*148050
Klippel-Feil*118100?PAXl, GDF6
Lower mesodermal agenesis*
Maternal diabetes*
MURCS Association*601076
Multiple Pterygium Syndrome265000CHRNG
OEIS Syndrome*258040
Rokitansky Sequence*277000?WNT4
Spondylocarpotarsal Synostosis272460FLNB
Spondylocostal Dysostosis277300DLL3, MESP2, LFNG
Spondylothoracic Dysotosis*277300MESP2

*Underlying cause not known. Reproduced from Expert Opinion in Expert Opin. Med. Diagn. (2008) 2(10):1107-1121 with permission of Informa UK Ltd.

7. Sporadically Occurring CVMs

Because CVM and associated syndromes usually represent sporadic occurrences, even within a particular family, it is difficult to identify causal genetic factors. A panel of genes associated with vertebral patterning defects including PAX1, DLL3, SLC35A3, WNT3A, TBX6, and T (Brachyury) were sequenced by our group in 50 patients with heterogeneous types of CVMs [6670]. A mutation (c.1013C>T) resulting in an alanine to valine change was found at amino acid position 338 in the T (Brachyury) gene in three affected patients, in this cohort that was not present among 886 chromosomes in the CEPH diversity panel [66]. Collectively these patients had maternal pregnancy exposure histories of diabetes, valproic acid, and clomiphene. The third affected individual did not have any history of maternal exposure during pregnancy. The phenotypes of these patients were all distinct and included cervical and thoracic CVM and sacral agenesis. This mutation had previously been described in another individual with sacral agenesis with no history of maternal diabetes during pregnancy [71]. Although no mutations in TBX6 were identified in the previously described patient series, polymorphisms of the somite patterning gene TBX6, specifically rs2289292 (located at exon 8) and rs380962 (located at the 5′UTR), may have an important role in the pathogenesis of congenital scoliosis in the Chinese Han population [72].

CVM may mediated through complex interactions of genetic, environmental and epigenetic factors. Gestational hypoxia in Hes7+/- and Mesp2+/- mice results in an increase in severity of CVM in mice. This effect mediated by abnormal FGF signaling results in altered somitogenesis and provides evidence that an environmental trigger such as hypoxia can potentiate a CVM occurrence in a genetically susceptible background [73]. The observation that the phenotypic expression of tail kinks in the axin fused mouse can be altered by increased DNA methylation supports an epigenetic contribution to CVM occurrence [74].

Whole exome sequence (WES) and whole genome sequence (WGS) platforms represent suitable platforms for the identification of candidate gene sequence variants and copy number variants (CNV). WES analyzes approximately 1% of the entire genome and highlights identification of sequence variation in the coding and splice site regions in annotated genes identifying approximately 20,000 sequence variants. WGS is capable of uncovering all genetic and genomic variations, including single nucleotide variants (SNV) and CNV identifying approximately 3.5 million sequence variants [75]. A variety of filtering algorithms, including elimination of sequence variants, present in databases such as dbSNP and the 1,000 Genomes Project database, are implemented to narrow down potential candidate genes. Among coding variants decreasing priority is given to nonsense, frameshift, splice-site, and missense mutations. Inheritance modeling (dominant, recessive) computer prediction in conjunction with disease specific information helps to enable further refinement.

Evidence for localization of vertebral patterning genes identified in mice, Xenopus, and chickens, in synteny blocks supports a hypothesis for conservation of vertebral patterning genes among amniotes [76]. SNV identified in patterning genes previously identified in model organisms should be sought initially, although the advantage of WES and WGS is the ability to identify novel genes and pathways associated with disease. Following identification of a narrowed and focused list of candidate genes, functional confirmation is necessary. WES is applicable for the identification of SNV in highly penetrant mendelian disease phenotypes, whereas WGS has applications for both mendelian and complex phenotype identification in addition to sporadic phenotypes which are the result of de novo CNVs or SNVs.

Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum disorders and Klippel-Feil syndrome are two frequently encountered syndromes associated with CVM. Progress has been made in understanding their etiologies and each is discussed below.

8.1. Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Spectrum (Hemifacial Microsomia)

Major clinical features of oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum (OAVS) include unilateral microtia, craniofacial asymmetry, mandibular hypoplasia, ocular epibulbar dermoid, and CVM [77]. Additional features include: cleft lip with or without cleft palate, congenital heart disease, and congenital renal malformations. There is overlap between OAVS and other syndromes including Treacher Collins syndrome (associated with microtia, lower eyelid colobomas, and mandibular hypoplasia), Fanconi Anemia (radial ray abnormalities, short stature, elevated diepoxy butane induced chromosome breakage), and VACTERL syndrome. At the present time there is no common etiology for OAVS, although there is evidence supporting vascular disruption [78], maternal diabetes [79], and other teratogenetic agents including retinoic acid [80] and thalidomide [81]. Using high density oligonucletotide microarray CGH technology, 12 of 86 (14%) patients with hemifacial microsomia studied were identified as having a CNV, including 4 patients with deletions and/or 8 patients with duplications ranging between 2.3–2.8 Mb in size [82]. Of the three patients with CVM who had CNV, one patient had a paternally inherited 9q34.11 duplication. None of the genes involved in the 9q34.11 have any known function with respect to vertebral body development; a second patient had a duplication involving 20p12.2. The ANKRD5 gene was present within this region and is not known to have any known function in somite formation; the third patient had a coincident isodicentric Y chromosome. These results indicate that CNV represents a minority of genetic causes for hemifacial microsomia and support a hypothesis for genetic heterogeneity of OAVS.

8.2. Klippel Feil Syndrome

The majority of cases of Klippel-Feil syndrome (short neck, low posterior hairline, and fusion of cervical vertebrae) represent sporadic occurrences within a family. However, Klippel-Feil syndrome may represent a familial occurrence in which multiple family members are affected. Autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, and X-linked forms of Klippel-Feil syndrome have been reported [83]. Wildervank syndrome refers to a constellation of features including Klippel-Feil syndrome, congenital hearing loss, Duane retraction syndrome (limitation of abduction with narrowing of the palpebral fissure and retraction of the globe) [84].

Klippel-Feil syndrome is sometimes associated with mirror movements, or the involuntary movement of the one extremity mimicking the opposite extremity, with a central mirror serving as a reference point, reflecting the image of the voluntary extremity to the opposite side [8588]. One neuroanatomic basis for mirror movements is hypothesized to be related to variations in the normal pathways of descending corticospinal tracts, including the crossed lateral corticospinal tract (LCT), uncrossed anterior corticospinal tract (ACT), and anterolateral corticospinal tract (ALCT) [88]. Other hypotheses include delayed resolution following a CNS insult or loss of normal control pathways. No coding mutations were identified in a series of genes associated with aberrant ocular motor and corticospinal axon path development in a patient with Wildervanck syndrome, mirror movements and neuroschisis, including ROBO3, CHN1, HOXA1, DCC, and GDF6 [89]. Analysis of additional patients would be helpful to support a hypothesis for mutations in genes associated with corticospinal axon path development.

A mutation at a highly conserved region in the BMP ligand GDF6 gene c.866T>C was identified in both familial and sporadic forms of Klippel Feil syndrome [90]. The variable expressivity in affected family members and incomplete penetrance observed in GDF6 knockout mice suggest thresholds of GDF6 necessary for spine development are subject to modification by environmental factors and may vary between individuals and within different spinal regions. An autosomal dominant mutation (R266C) in GDF3 has been identified in one family with ocular defects including iris and retinal coloboma and CVM [91]. Zebrafish morpholinos for Gdf1/3 demonstrated retinal colobomas and trunk shortening with vertebral malformations.

9. Idiopathic Scoliosis

9.1. Management

While CS is associated with underlying CVM, the spine in IS has a normal morphologic appearance. The incidence of IS for treatable curves defined as 25° or greater is greater in females than in males with a ratio of 2 : 1, respectively. Gender differences may underlie scoliotic curve progression [92].

Current management of IS in a growing child includes: (1) Observation of curves that are <25°, (2) Bracing fulltime for curves progressing >25°, and (3) surgery (spinal fusion and instrumentation) for curves >40–45°. By age 16, 0.6% of affected people will have required active treatment with a full-time thoracolumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO) or surgical correction with instrumentation [3]. Bracing involves the wearing of a TLSO 22 hours/day until spinal maturation [93]. Fulltime bracing is 80%–85% effective in holding curves under the surgery range at the completion of growth. However, in spite of full compliance with brace wear, there is a 15%–20% failure of bracing, and surgery is indicated.

Though scoliosis manifests during adolescence, it continues to cause significant medical problems most of late adolescent and adult life. The population of scoliotic teenagers treated in the 1950s and 1960s has now reached adulthood. Those who underwent surgical corrections are now manifesting the late effects of both the underlying scoliosis and interventional outcomes. Those who had no surgical intervention also manifest the later effects of scoliosis: back pain, progression, and significant respiratory and cardiac compromise [94]. These late consequences are not surprising in light of the pathological consequences associated with the disorder. Significant health problems have been reported in association with IS, including chronic back and neck pain, flatback syndrome, disc herniations, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, kyphosis, disability, cosmetic dissatisfaction, and psychologic distress [95]. Patients with severe scoliosis, that is, curves >70°, are 3 times more likely to die from cardiopulmonary disease than unaffected individuals [96].

9.2. Genetic Etiologies of IS

The mode of inheritance of IS has not been solidly established and is under debate [1, 26, 95, 97100]. Inheritance patterns reported include autosomal dominant with variable penetrance, autosomal recessive, multifactorial, and X-linked dominant modes. Hypotheses advanced to explain pathogenesis of IS include abnormalities in the composition of the connective tissue matrix, melatonin, calmodulin, neuromuscular imbalance, and altered vestibular function. Previous studies, illustrated in Table 2, demonstrated genetic heterogeneity for IS, although no single gene linked with the development of IS has been identified to date.

StudyNo. of

Wise et al. [101]1/146q
distal 10q
Autosomal dominantGenome wide search in one family of French Acadian and English descent (7 affected members), with validation of “hot spots” in a second large family

Chan et al. [102]7/5219p13.3Autosomal dominantRecruited Asian patients in whom scoliosis developed in adolescence

Baghernajad Salehi et al. [103]1/1717p.11Autosomal dominant3 generation Italian family

Justice et al. [104]202/1198Xq23
X-linked dominantMaximum lod score of 1.69 (theta = 0.2) identified at marker GATA172D05. A lod score of 2.23 for this marker was found in one family with six affected individuals

Morcuende et al. [105]47/1764q35N/ANo linkage to MTNR1A (Melatonin Receptor 1A) and no mutations in MTNR1A

Bashiardes et al. [106]7 individuals8p23.2-8q11.21Autosomal dominantPericentric inversion in chromosome 8 disrupts SNTG1 (syntrophin). Five of 7 individuals in family have SNTG1 deletion

Miller et al. [107]202/11986, 9, 16 and 17Autosomal dominantModel independent linkage analysis

Alden et al. [108]202/119819p11.3Autosomal dominantThreshold of curvature set at 30°. Fibrillin 3, thromboxane A2 receptor, possible candidates

Baghernajad Salehi et al. [103] 1500 individualsChromosome 3
Chromosome 7
Autosomal dominantPatients’ familial relationships established through database

Gao et al. [109]528qN/ACHD7 Gene polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to idiopathic scoliosis

Ocaka et al. [110]25/2089q31.2-q34.2;
Autosomal dominantConfirmation of 9q [107]

Raggio et al. [111]7/4812p13.3Autosomal dominant; autosomal recessiveAll families contribute to recessive model. 5/7 families contribute to the dominant model

Gurnett et al. [112]1/2218qAutosomal dominantLOD score 3.86
Scoliosis and pectus excavatum

Sharma et al. [113]4193p26.3 ( )N/AGWAS study. CHL1, DSCAM, CNTNAP2 genes involved in axon guidance

Takahashi et al. [114]1050LBX1 ( )N/AGWAS study. LBX1 is determinant of dorsal spinal neurons; altered somatosensory function

Candidate gene analysis of IS has focused on stratification of genes on the basis of their presumed function including: connective tissue, bone formation and metabolism, melatonin signaling pathway, puberty, and growth [115]. Several genes encoding extracellular matrix proteins, including elastin, types I and II collagen (COL1A1, COL1A2, COL2A1), and fibrillin, failed to demonstrate linkage to IS [97, 116]. Melatonin is considered a contributor to IS based on the observation that pinealectomy in newborn chickens leads to a spinal deformity similar to IS in humans [117]. Melatonin signaling was also impaired in patients with IS [118]. However, no evidence for linkage of IS to chromosome 4q, the locus for the human melatonin 1A receptor, has been observed, indicating that scoliosis does not result solely from melatonin deficiency [105, 119].

Linkage to 19p13 was described in two separate studies [102, 108]. Two loci within this region are credible candidates for IS: fibrillin 3 and thromboxane A2 receptor. Fibrillin 3 is a component of the extracellular matrix, which contributes to microfibrillar structure. Since abnormalities in platelet function have been reported in IS [120, 121], attention has turned towards understanding the interaction between calmodulin, myosin, and actin in platelets and subsequent development of IS.

These studies described above were largely based on analysis of strategically spaced genetic markers across the genome in large families with IS in order to identify linkages to a chromosomal region corresponding to the potential genetic basis for IS. Further exploration of candidate gene region(s) demonstrating association with familial IS would be required to determine their relative contribution to isolated sporadic (non familial) cases of IS.

9.3. Genetic Prognostic Factors Associated with IS and Curve Progression

Why and which curves will fail treatment are not known. Theories abound as to hypokyphotic curves, larger magnitude curves, and less flexible curves. There is evidence that genetic factors such as estrogen receptor genotype may predict curve progression in IS [122]. There is also evidence that elevated calmodulin levels contribute to curve progression in IS, possibly through interference with estrogen binding to the estrogen receptor [123]. SNPs have been used to develop an AIS-Prognostic Test (AIS-PT) to identify the curves that will not require bracing or surgery and curves that will fail bracing.

Determining which children with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) between the ages of 9 and 13 years will require bracing is a challenge for the treating orthopedic surgeon. An application of genetic knowledge is to use this information in combination with additional clinical information to determine which patients using a series of 52 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with genetic loci on all chromosomes except 3, 13, 21, and the Y chromosome, in conjunction with a the Cobb angle at the time of initial diagnosis, a logistic regression analysis has been utilized to obtain an AIS Prognostic Test score between 1 and 200 [124]. In three tested populations, low risk scores of <41 were observed to have a negative predictive value of 100%, 99%, and 97%. High risk scores (181–200) would identify the 1-2% of patients most likely to progress to a severe curve. Those patients with intermediate risk scores (51–180) would require close follow up for their curve progression by an orthopedic surgeon. Presently, information regarding the biological function of the genes used for the AIS Prognostic Test score is incomplete. The potential advantage of prognostic testing would be to reduce costs of imaging in those patients who are at a lower risk for scoliosis curve progression.

In addition to previous studies suggesting a genetic component linked to the development of IS as a binary trait, there is evidence that genetic factors may predict curve progression in IS. An association study performed in 304 females with IS demonstrated a significantly greater Cobb angle at the time of growth maturation among patients with estrogen receptor genotype XX and Xx compared to patients with genotype xx [122]. A higher risk for operative treatment was observed among patients with genotype XX and Xx, compared to patients with genotype xx. There is also evidence that elevated calmodulin levels contribute to curve progression in IS, possibly through interference with estrogen binding to the estrogen receptor [123].

The single-nucleotide polymorphism SNP-418G/C in the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 gene promoter region was associated with thoracic scoliosis curve severity [125]. Downregulation of TIMP-2 transcriptional activity resulting in increased vascular proliferation and enhanced anterior spine endochondral ossification during adolescence could result in disproportionate spinal growth and result in thoracic scoliosis. The promoter polymorphism (rs11063714) in the neurotrophin 3 (NTF3) gene is associated with curve severity for IS in the Chinese Han population. Individuals affected with IS having an AA genotype had lower mean maximum Cobb angle as compared to patients with AG and GG genotypes [126]. Patients who were skeletally mature and had an AA genotype had greater success for treatment with bracing as compared to patients with GG genotype. Egr 3−/− mice fail to express NTF3 and have proprioceptive dysfunction due to muscle spindle agenesis, apoptosis of proprioceptive neurons, proprioceptive neuron apoptosis, and disruption of synaptic connectivity between muscle sensory and motor neurons. A reduction in the number of muscle spindles and malfunction has been demonstrated in spinal muscle obtained from patients with IS, examined histologically and histochemically [127]. There is also increased expression of NTF3 messenger RNA in paravertebral muscle in IS [119]. These observations in addition to a strong linkage signal on chromosome 12p13 [111], the NTF3 locus provide support for a role of NTF3 in the pathogenesis of IS.

The above summary illustrates the difficulty of identifying causative genes for IS lies in extreme phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Future research will need to be aimed at improved stratification of clinical cases based on factors such as age of onset, curve progression, severity, responsiveness to bracing, and correlation with mutations in genes identified using next generation sequence platforms such as whole exome and whole genome analysis [115].

10. Relationship between Congenital and Idiopathic Scoliosis

Multiple studies support a common genetic etiology for congenital and idiopathic scoliosis. A family history of IS was observed in 17.3% of 237 families in which an affected proband had congenital scoliosis [128]. In 52 families with IS a significant linkage peak was observed on chromosome 8q12 (multipoint LOD 2.77; ). Over transmission of the CHD7 associated polymorphism, rs4738824 in patients with IS was observed in a cohort of 52 families. Substitution of the A allele of this polymorphism with the G allele is predicted to disrupt a possible binding site for caudal-type (cdx) homeodomain-containing transcription factors. Mutations in CHD7, a chromeodomain helicase DNA binding protein are associated with CHARGE syndrome (coloboma of the eye, heart defects, atresia of the choanae, retardation of growth and/or development, genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and ear abnormalities and deafness) [129]. A hypothesis for the development of idiopathic scoliosis is CHD7 may act postnatally to alter spinal growth during the adolescent growth spurt. Chd7 in zebrafish is expressed in somites, brain, eye, and otic vesicle. Chd7 enables proper symmetric expression of critically important somitogenesis associated genes located downstream from Wnt including her7, cdx1a, dlc, mespa, and ripply. Zebrafish morpholinos in which CHD7 was knocked down were noted to have tail kinks and a progressively shortened axis [130]. Chd7 plays an important role in somitogenesis as supported by a lack of distinct somite boundary formation and abnormal expression of ephrin B2a, an important segment polarity gene when this gene is knocked down in zebrafish [131]. Knockdown of lysyl oxidases lox11 or lox15b in zebrafish in conjunction with diminished copper availability result in distortion of the notochord formation, suggesting a relationship between genetic and nutritional factors in the etiology of notochord development. However no association between coding or tag SNPs in LOX, LOXL1, LOXL2, LOXL3, LOXL4, and idiopathic scoliosis was observed.

11. Summary

While CS and IS represent clinically distinct conditions, there is evidence supporting a hypothesis for a common pathogenetic mechanism. The underlying genetic etiologies and respective environmental contributions have not been delineated. The obstacles which need to be overcome include clinical heterogeneity with respect to diversity of the types of CVM with contribute to CS. Idiopathic scoliosis is also a clinically heterogeneous condition and is associated with different ages of onset and prognoses. Advances in genetic technologies can assist in the identification of sequence variants which may contribute to the occurrence of both conditions. Challenges for both conditions are to evaluate their relative contribution to the development of CVM or IS, in addition to determine how multiple mutations in a single individual may interact with one another and environmental factors. The treatment of both conditions requires a multispecialty approach. Unraveling the genetic contributions for both conditions can help to provide improved genetic counseling, prevention, and treatment strategies for families.


  1. E. J. Riseborough and R. Wynne Davies, “A genetic survey of idiopathic scoliosis in Boston, Massachusetts,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—Series A, vol. 55, no. 5, pp. 974–982, 1973. View at: Google Scholar
  2. A. R. Shands and H. B. Eisberg, “The incidence of scoliosis in the state of Delaware; a study of 50,000 minifilms of the chest made during a survey for tuberculosis,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery— Series A, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 1243–1249, 1955. View at: Google Scholar
  3. E. J. Rogala, D. S. Drummond, and J. Gurr, “Scoliosis: incidence and natural history. A prospective epidemiological study,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—Series A, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 173–176, 1978. View at: Google Scholar
  4. M. C. Brand, “Examination of the newborn with congenital scoliosis: focus on the physical,” Advances in Neonatal Care, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 265–273, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  5. B. R. Davies and M. Durán, “Malformations of the cranium, vertebral column, and related central nervous system: morphologic heterogeneity may indicate biological diversity,” Birth Defects Research Part A—Clinical and Molecular Teratology, vol. 67, no. 8, pp. 563–571, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  6. M. J. McMaster, “Congenital deformities of the spine,” Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 475–480, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  7. P. F. Giampietro, S. L. Dunwoodie, K. Kusumi et al., “Molecular diagnosis of vertebral segmentation disorders in humans,” Expert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics, vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 1107–1121, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  8. O. Pourquié, “Vertebrate segmentation: from cyclic gene networks to scoliosis,” Cell, vol. 145, no. 5, pp. 650–663, 2011. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  9. J. Cooke and E. C. Zeeman, “A clock and wavefront model for control of the number of repeated structures during animal morphogenesis,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 455–476, 1976. View at: Google Scholar
  10. Y. Bessho, H. Hirata, Y. Masamizu, and R. Kageyama, “Periodic repression by the bHLH factor Hes7 is an essential mechanism for the somite segmentation clock,” Genes and Development, vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 1451–1456, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  11. S. L. Dunwoodie, M. Clements, D. B. Sparrow, X. Sa, R. A. Conlon, and R. S. P. Beddington, “Axial skeletal defects caused by mutation in the spondylocostal dysplasia/pudgy gene Dll3 are associated with disruption of the segmentation clock within the presomitic mesoderm,” Development, vol. 129, no. 7, pp. 1795–1806, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  12. S. A. Holley, R. Geisler, and C. Nüsslein-Volhard, “Control of her1 expression during zebrafish somitogenesis by a Delta- dependent oscillator and an independent wave-front activity,” Genes and Development, vol. 14, no. 13, pp. 1678–1690, 2000. View at: Google Scholar
  13. C. Jouve, I. Palmeirim, D. Henrique et al., “Notch signalling is required for cyclic expression of the hairy-like gene HES1 in the presomitic mesoderm,” Development, vol. 127, no. 7, pp. 1421–1429, 2000. View at: Google Scholar
  14. M. L. Dequéant, E. Glynn, K. Gaudenz et al., “A complex oscillating network of signaling genes underlies the mouse segmentation clock,” Science, vol. 314, no. 5805, pp. 1595–1598, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  15. A. Aulehla, C. Wehrle, B. Brand-Saberi et al., “Wnt3a plays a major role in the segmentation clock controlling somitogenesis,” Developmental Cell, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 395–406, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  16. S. E. Cole, J. M. Levorse, S. M. Tilghman, and T. F. Vogt, “Clock regulatory elements control cyclic expression of Lunatic fringe during somitogenesis,” Developmental Cell, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 75–84, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  17. W. Sewell, D. B. Sparrow, A. J. Smith et al., “Cyclical expression of the Notch/Wnt regulator Nrarp requires modulation by Dll3 in somitogenesis,” Developmental Biology, vol. 329, no. 2, pp. 400–409, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  18. J. Dubrulle, M. J. McGrew, and O. Pourquié, “FGF signaling controls somite boundary position and regulates segmentation clock control of spatiotemporal Hox gene activation,” Cell, vol. 106, no. 2, pp. 219–232, 2001. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  19. A. Sawada, M. Shinya, Y. J. Jiang, A. Kawakami, A. Kuroiwa, and H. Takeda, “Fgf/MAPK signalling is a crucial positional cue in somite boundary formation,” Development, vol. 128, no. 23, pp. 4873–4880, 2001. View at: Google Scholar
  20. A. Aulehla and O. Pourquié, “Oscillating signaling pathways during embryonic development,” Current Opinion in Cell Biology, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 632–637, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  21. W. C. Dunty Jr., K. K. Biris, R. B. Chalamalasetty, M. M. Taketo, M. Lewandoski, and T. P. Yamaguchi, “Wnt3a/β-catenin signaling controls posterior body development by coordinating mesoderm formation and segmentation,” Development, vol. 135, no. 1, pp. 85–94, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  22. K. K. Biris, W. C. Dunty Jr., and T. P. Yamaguchi, “Mouse Ripply2 is downstream of Wnt3a and is dynamically expressed during somitogenesis,” Developmental Dynamics, vol. 236, no. 11, pp. 3167–3172, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  23. Y. Moritomo, O. Koga, H. Miyamoto, and T. Tsuda, “Congenital anophthalmia with caudal vertebral anomalies in Japanese Brown cattle,” The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 693–696, 1995. View at: Google Scholar
  24. R. B. Chalamalasetty, W. C. Dunty Jr., K. K. Biris et al., “The Wnt3a/beta-catenin target gene Mesogenin1 controls the segmentation clock by activating a Notch signalling program,” Nature Communications, vol. 2, no. 1, article 390, 2011. View at: Google Scholar
  25. J. Vermot and O. Pourquié, “Retinoic acid coordinates somitogenesis and left-right patterning in vertebrate embryos,” Nature, vol. 435, no. 7039, pp. 215–220, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  26. U. M. Ahn, N. U. Ahn, L. Nallamshetty et al., “The etiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” American Journal of Orthopedics, vol. 31, no. 7, pp. 387–395, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  27. S. J. Tredwell, D. F. Smith, P. J. Macleod, and B. J. Wood, “Cervical spine anomalies in fetal alcohol syndrome,” Spine, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 331–334, 1982. View at: Google Scholar
  28. L. B. Holmes, E. A. Harvey, B. A. Coull et al., “The teratogenicity of anticonvulsant drugs,” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 344, no. 15, pp. 1132–1138, 2001. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  29. E. Menegola, M. L. Broccia, H. Nau, M. Prati, R. Ricolfi, and E. Giavini, “Teratogenic effects of sodium valproate in mice and rats at midgestation and at term,” Teratogenesis Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 97–108, 1996. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  30. C. V. Vorhees, “Teratogenicity and developmental toxicity of valproic acid in rats,” Teratology, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 195–202, 1987. View at: Google Scholar
  31. J. G. Breen, T. W. Claggett, G. L. Kimmel, and C. A. Kimmel, “Heat shock during rat embryo development in vitro results in decreased mitosis and abundant cell death,” Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 31–39, 1999. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  32. A. Åberg, L. Westbom, and B. Källén, “Congenital malformations among infants whose mothers had gestational diabetes or preexisting diabetes,” Early Human Development, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 85–95, 2001. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  33. M. L. Martinez-Frias, E. Bermejo, E. Rodriguez-Pinilla, L. Prieto, and J. L. Frias, “Epidemiological analysis of outcomes of pregnancy in gestational diabetic mothers,” American Journal of Medical Genetics, vol. 78, pp. 140–145, 1998. View at: Google Scholar
  34. E. Passarge and W. Lenz, “Syndrome of caudal regression in infants of diabetic mothers: observations of further cases,” Pediatrics, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 672–675, 1966. View at: Google Scholar
  35. P. G. Alexander and R. S. Tuan, “Role of environmental factors in axial skeletal dysmorphogenesis,” Birth Defects Research Part C—Embryo Today, vol. 90, no. 2, pp. 118–132, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  36. R. Allache, P. De Marco, E. Merello, V. Capra, and Z. Kibar, “Role of the planar cell polarity gene CELSR1 in neural tube defects and caudal agenesis,” Birth Defects Research Part A—Clinical and Molecular Teratology, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 176–181, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  37. M. Simons and M. Mlodzik, “Planar cell polarity signaling: from fly development to human disease,” Annual Review of Genetics, vol. 42, pp. 517–540, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  38. W. Hickory, R. Nanda, and F. A. Catalanotto, “Fetal skeletal malformations associated with moderate zinc deficiency during pregnancy,” Journal of Nutrition, vol. 109, no. 5, pp. 883–891, 1979. View at: Google Scholar
  39. A. C. Sköld, K. Wellfelt, and B. R. Danielsson, “Stage-specific skeletal and visceral defects of the IKr-blocker almokalant: further evidence for teratogenicity via a hypoxia-related mechanism,” Teratology, vol. 64, no. 6, pp. 292–300, 2001. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  40. Y. Tian, H. Ishikawa, T. Yamaguchi, T. Yamauchi, and K. Yokoyama, “Teratogenicity and developmental toxicity of chlorpyrifos: maternal exposure during organogenesis in mice,” Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 267–271, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  41. B. E. Bengtsson, A. Larsson, A. Bengtsson, and L. Renberg, “Sublethal effects of tetrachloro-1,2-benzoquinone—a component in bleachery effluents from pulp mills—on vertebral quality and physiological parameters in fourhorn sculpin,” Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 62–71, 1988. View at: Google Scholar
  42. F. A. Farley, R. T. Loder, B. T. Nolan et al., “Mouse model for thoracic congenital scoliosis,” Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 537–540, 2001. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  43. N. Wéry, M. G. Narotsky, N. Pacico, R. J. Kavlock, J. J. Picard, and F. Gofflot, “Defects in cervical vertebrae in boric acid-exposed rat embryos are associated with anterior shifts of box gene expression domains,” Birth Defects Research Part A—Clinical and Molecular Teratology, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 59–67, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  44. M. H. Owen, L. M. Ryan, and L. B. Holmes, “Effects of retinoic acid on Dominant hemimelia expression in mice,” Birth Defects Research Part A—Clinical and Molecular Teratology, vol. 85, no. 1, pp. 36–41, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  45. P. G. Alexander, L. Chau, and R. S. Tuan, “Role of nitric oxide in chick embryonic organogenesis and dysmorphogenesis,” Birth Defects Research Part A—Clinical and Molecular Teratology, vol. 79, no. 8, pp. 581–594, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  46. K. S. Bnait and M. J. Seller, “Ultrastructural changes in 9-day old mouse embryos following maternal tobacco smoke inhalation,” Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 453–461, 1995. View at: Google Scholar
  47. R. R. Fichtner, K. M. Sullivan, C. L. Zyrkowski, and F. L. Trowbridge, “Racial/ethnic differences in smoking, other risk factors, and low birth weight among low-income pregnant women, 1978–1988,” MMWR. CDC Surveillance Summaries, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 13–21, 1990. View at: Google Scholar
  48. A. Kaspiris, T. B. Grivas, and H. R. Weiss, “Congenital scoliosis in monozygotic twins: case report and review of possible factors contributing to its development,” Scoliosis, vol. 3, no. 1, article 17, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  49. G. Corsello and E. Piro, “The world of twins: an update,” Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, vol. 23, supplement 3, pp. 59–62, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  50. E. L. Niemitz and A. P. Feinberg, “Epigenetics and assisted reproductive technology: a call for investigation,” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 74, no. 4, pp. 599–609, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  51. G. D. Bennett, “Hyperthermia: malformations to chaperones,” Birth Defects Research Part B, vol. 89, no. 4, pp. 279–288, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  52. L. B. Holmes, “Vertebral anomalies: hemivertebrae,” in Common Malformations, pp. 283–289, Oxford University Press, 2012. View at: Google Scholar
  53. K. Aburakawa, M. Harada, and S. Otake, “Clinical evaluations of the treatment of scoliosis,” Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, vol. 39, pp. 55–62, 1996. View at: Google Scholar
  54. K. Takikawa, N. Haga, T. Maruyama et al., “Spine and rib abnormalities and stature in spondylocostal dysostosis,” Spine, vol. 31, no. 7, pp. E192–E197, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  55. M. Klippel and A. Feil, “Un cas d'absence des vertebres cervicales,” Nouvelle Iconog. de la Salpêtrière, vol. 25, pp. 223–250, 1912. View at: Google Scholar
  56. M. N. Thomsen, U. Schneider, M. Weber, R. Johannisson, and F. U. Niethard, “Scoliosis and congenital anomalies associated with Klippel-Feil syndrome types I-III,” Spine, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 396–401, 1997. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  57. G. R. Mortier, R. S. Lachman, M. Bocian, and D. L. Rimoin, “Multiple vertebral segmentation defects: analysis of 26 new patients and review of the literature,” American Journal of Medical Genetics, vol. 61, no. 4, pp. 310–319, 1996. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  58. A. Offiah, B. Alman, A. S. Cornier et al., “Pilot assessment of a radiologic classification system for segmentation defects of the vertebrae,” American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A, vol. 152, no. 6, pp. 1357–1371, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  59. M. P. Bulman, K. Kusumi, T. M. Frayling et al., “Mutations in the human Delta homologue, DLL3, cause axial skeletal defects in spondylocostal dysostosis,” Nature Genetics, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 438–441, 2000. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  60. N. V. Whittock, D. B. Sparrow, M. A. Wouters et al., “Mutated/MESP2 causes spondylocostal dysostosis in humans,” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 74, no. 6, pp. 1249–1254, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  61. D. B. Sparrow, G. Chapman, M. A. Wouters et al., “Mutation of the LUNATIC FRINGE gene in humans causes spondylocostal dysostosis with a severe vertebral phenotype,” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 78, no. 1, pp. 28–37, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  62. D. B. Sparrow, D. Sillence, M. A. Wouters, P. D. Turnpenny, and S. L. Dunwoodie, “Two novel missense mutations in HAIRY-AND-ENHANCER-OF-SPLIT-7 in a family with spondylocostal dysostosis,” European Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 674–679, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  63. P. D. Turnpenny, N. Whittock, J. Duncan, S. Dunwoodie, K. Kusumi, and S. Ellard, “Novel mutations in DLL3, a somitogenesis gene encoding a ligand for the Notch signalling pathway, cause a consistent pattern of abnormal vertebral segmentation in spondylocostal dysostosis,” Journal of Medical Genetics, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 333–339, 2003. View at: Google Scholar
  64. J. E. Moseley and R. J. Bonforte, “Spondylothoracic dysplasia—a syndrome of congenital anomalies,” American Journal of Roentgenology, Radium Therapy, and Nuclear Medicine, vol. 106, no. 1, pp. 166–169, 1969. View at: Google Scholar
  65. A. S. Cornier, K. Staehling-Hampton, K. M. Delventhal et al., “Mutations in the MESP2 gene cause spondylothoracic dysostosis/Jarcho-Levin syndrome,” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 82, no. 6, pp. 1334–1341, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  66. N. Ghebranious, R. D. Blank, C. L. Raggio et al., “A missense T(Brachyury) mutation contributes to vertebral malformations,” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, vol. 23, no. 10, pp. 1576–1583, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  67. N. Ghebranious, J. K. Burmester, I. Glurich et al., “Evaluation, of SLC35A3 as a candidate gene for human vertebral malformations,” American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A, vol. 140, no. 12, pp. 1346–1348, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  68. N. Ghebranious, C. L. Raggio, R. D. Blank et al., “Lack of evidence of WNT3A as a candidate gene for congenital vertebral malformations,” Scoliosis, vol. 2, no. 1, article 13, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  69. P. F. Giampietro, C. L. Raggio, C. Reynolds et al., “DLL3 as a candidate gene for vertebral malformations,” American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A, vol. 140, no. 22, pp. 2447–2453, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  70. P. F. Giampietro, C. L. Raggio, C. E. Reynolds et al., “An analysis of PAX1 in the development of vertebral malformations,” Clinical Genetics, vol. 68, no. 5, pp. 448–453, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  71. C. Papapetrou, F. Drummond, W. Reardon, R. Winter, L. Spitz, and Y. H. Edwards, “A genetic study of the human T gene and its exclusion as a major candidate gene for sacral agenesis with anorectal atresia,” Journal of Medical Genetics, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 208–213, 1999. View at: Google Scholar
  72. Q. Fei, Z. Wu, H. Wang et al., “The association analysis of TBX6 polymorphism with susceptibility to congenital scoliosis in a Chinese han population,” Spine, vol. 35, no. 9, pp. 983–988, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  73. D. B. Sparrow, G. Chapman, A. J. Smith et al., “A mechanism for gene-environment interaction in the etiology of congenital scoliosis,” Cell, vol. 149, no. 2, pp. 295–306, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  74. R. A. Waterland, D. C. Dolinoy, J. R. Lin, C. A. Smith, X. Shi, and K. G. Tahiliani, “Maternal methyl supplements increase offspring DNA methylation at Axin fused,” Genesis, vol. 44, no. 9, pp. 401–406, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  75. C. Gonzaga-Jauregui, J. R. Lupski, and R. A. Gibbs, “Human genome sequencing in health and disease,” Annual Review of Medicine, vol. 63, pp. 35–61, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  76. P. F. Giampietro, C. L. Raggio, and R. D. Blank, “Use of synteny conversion in identification of candidate genes for somitogenesis in humans,” Open Journal of Orthopedics, vol. 2, pp. 62–68, 2012. View at: Google Scholar
  77. M. M. Cohen, B. R. Rollnick, and C. I. Kaye, “Oculoauriculovertebral spectrum: an updated critique,” Cleft Palate Journal, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 276–286, 1989. View at: Google Scholar
  78. R. Cousley, H. Naora, M. Yokoyama, M. Kimura, and H. Otani, “Validity of the Hfm transgenic mouse as a model for hemifacial microsomia,” Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 81–92, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  79. R. Wang, M. L. Martínez-Frías, and J. M. Graham Jr., “Infants of diabetic mothers are at increased risk for the oculo-auriculo-vertebral sequence: a case-based and case-control approach,” Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 141, no. 5, pp. 611–617, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  80. E. J. Lammer, D. T. Chen, R. M. Hoar et al., “Retinoic acid embryopathy,” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 313, no. 14, pp. 837–841, 1985. View at: Google Scholar
  81. R. W. Smithells and I. Leck, “The incidence of limb and ear defects since the withdrawal of thalidomide,” The Lancet, vol. 281, no. 7290, pp. 1095–1097, 1963. View at: Google Scholar
  82. C. Rooryck, N. Souakri, D. Cailley et al., “Array-CGH analysis of a cohort of 86 patients with oculoauriculovertebral spectrum,” American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A, vol. 152, no. 8, pp. 1984–1989, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  83. R. A. Clarke, S. Singh, H. McKenzie, J. H. Kearsley, and M. Y. Yip, “Familial Klippel-Feil syndrome and paracentric inversion inv(8)(q22.2q23.3),” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 57, no. 6, pp. 1364–1370, 1995. View at: Google Scholar
  84. L. Wildervank, “The cerrvico-oculo-acusticus syndrome,” in Congenital Malformations of the Spine and Spinal Cord Handbook of Clinical Neurology, P. Vinken, G. Bruyn, and N. Myrianthopoulous, Eds., North Holland, New York, NY, USA, 1978. View at: Google Scholar
  85. W. J. Gardner, “Klippel-Feil syndrome, iniencephalus, anencephalus, hindbrain hernia and mirror movements. Overdistention of the neural tube,” Child's Brain, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 361–379, 1979. View at: Google Scholar
  86. C. H. Gunderson and G. B. Solitare, “Mirror movements in patients with the Klippel-Feil syndrome. Neuropathologic observations,” Archives of Neurology, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 675–679, 1968. View at: Google Scholar
  87. P. Rasmussen, “Persistent mirror movements: a clinical study of 17 children, adolescents and young adults,” Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, vol. 35, no. 8, pp. 699–707, 1993. View at: Google Scholar
  88. S. A. Royal, R. S. Tubbs, M. G. D'Antonio, M. J. Rauzzino, and W. J. Oakes, “Investigations into the association between cervicomedullary neuroschisis and mirror movements in patients with Klippel-Feil syndrome,” American Journal of Neuroradiology, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 724–729, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  89. T. Högen, W.-M. Chan, E. Riedel et al., “Wildervanck's syndrome and mirror movements: a congenital disorder of axon migration?” Journal of Neurology, vol. 259, no. 4, pp. 761–763, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  90. M. Tassabehji, M. F. Zhi, E. N. Hilton et al., “Mutations in GDF6 are associated with vertebral segmentation defects in Klippel-Feil syndrome,” Human Mutation, vol. 29, no. 8, pp. 1017–1027, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  91. M. Ye, K. M. Berry-Wynne, M. Asai-Coakwell et al., “Mutation of the bone morphogenetic protein GDF3 causes ocular and skeletal anomalies,” Human Molecular Genetics, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 287–298, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  92. S. Weinstein, “The thoracolumbar spine,” in Turek's Orthopedics: Principles and Their Application, S. Weinstein and J. Buckwalter, Eds., pp. 447–484, Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, Pa, USA, 1994. View at: Google Scholar
  93. A. L. Nachemson, L. E. Peterson, D. S. Bradford et al., “Effectiveness of treatment with a brace in girls who have adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. A prospective, controlled study based on data from the Brace Study of the Scoliosis Research Society,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—Series A, vol. 77, no. 6, pp. 815–822, 1995. View at: Google Scholar
  94. D. S. Bradford, B. K. B. Tay, and S. S. Hu, “Adult scoliosis: surgical indications, operative management, complications, and outcomes,” Spine, vol. 24, no. 24, pp. 2617–2629, 1999. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  95. H. Garland, “Hereditary scoliosis,” British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 3816, article 328, 1934. View at: Google Scholar
  96. W. F. Enneking and P. Harrington, “Pathological changes in scoliosis,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—Series A, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 165–184, 1969. View at: Google Scholar
  97. N. H. Miller, “Cause and natural history of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Orthopedic Clinics of North America, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 343–352, 1999. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  98. N. H. Miller, B. Mims, A. Child, D. M. Milewicz, P. Sponseller, and S. H. Blanton, “Genetic analysis of structural elastic fiber and collagen genes in familial adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Journal of Orthopaedic Research, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 994–999, 1996. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  99. G. C. Robin and T. Cohen, “Familial scoliosis. A clinical report,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—Series B, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 146–147, 1975. View at: Google Scholar
  100. S. L. Weinstein, L. A. Dolan, J. C. Cheng, A. Danielsson, and J. A. Morcuende, “Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” The Lancet, vol. 371, no. 9623, pp. 1527–1537, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  101. C. A. Wise, R. Barnes, J. Gillum, J. A. Herring, A. M. Bowcock, and M. Lovett, “Localization of susceptibility to familial idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 25, no. 18, pp. 2372–2380, 2000. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  102. V. Chan, G. C. Y. Fong, K. D. K. Luk et al., “A genetic locus for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis linked to chromosome 19p13.3,” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 71, no. 2, pp. 401–406, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  103. L. B. Salehi, M. Mangino, S. De Serio et al., “Assignment of a locus for autosomal dominant idiopathic scoliosis (IS) to ohuman chromosome 17p11,” Human Genetics, vol. 111, no. 4-5, pp. 401–404, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  104. C. M. Justice, N. H. Miller, B. Marosy, J. Zhang, and A. F. Wilson, “Familial idiopathic scoliosis: evidence of an X-linked susceptibility locus,” Spine, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 589–594, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  105. J. A. Morcuende, R. Minhas, L. Dolan et al., “Allelic variants of human melatonin 1A receptor in patients with familial adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 28, no. 17, pp. 2025–2029, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  106. S. Bashiardes, R. Veile, M. Allen et al., “SNTG1, the gene encoding γ1-syntrophin: a candidate gene for idiopathic scoliosis,” Human Genetics, vol. 115, no. 1, pp. 81–89, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  107. N. H. Miller, C. M. Justice, B. Marosy et al., “Identification of candidate regions for familial idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 30, no. 10, pp. 1181–1187, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  108. K. J. Alden, B. Marosy, N. Nzegwu, C. M. Justice, A. F. Wilson, and N. H. Miller, “Idiopathic scoliosis: identification of candidate regions on chromosome 19p13,” Spine, vol. 31, no. 16, pp. 1815–1819, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  109. X. Gao, D. Gordon, D. Zhang et al., “CHD7 gene polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to idiopathic scoliosis,” American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 80, no. 5, pp. 957–965, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  110. L. Ocaka, C. Zhao, J. A. Reed et al., “Assignment of two loci for autosomal dominant adolescent idiopathic scoliosis to chromosomes 9q31.2-q34.2 and 17q25.3-qtel,” Journal of Medical Genetics, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 87–92, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  111. C. L. Raggio, P. F. Giampietro, S. Dobrin et al., “A novel locus for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis on chromosome 12p,” Journal of Orthopaedic Research, vol. 27, no. 10, pp. 1366–1372, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  112. C. A. Gurnett, F. Alaee, A. Bowcock et al., “Genetic linkage localizes an adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and pectus excavatum gene to chromosome 18 q,” Spine, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. E94–E100, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  113. S. Sharma, X. Gao, D. Londono et al., “Genome-wide association studies of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis suggest candidate susceptibility genes,” Human Molecular Genetics, vol. 20, no. 7, pp. 1456–1466, 2011. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  114. Y. Takahashi, I. Kou, A. Takahashi et al., “A genome-wide association study identifies common variants near LBX1 associated with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Nature Genetics, vol. 43, no. 12, pp. 1237–1240, 2011. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  115. J. K. Webb, “Reviewer's comment,” European Spine Journal, vol. 8, no. 2, p. 117, 1999. View at: Google Scholar
  116. A. J. Carr, D. J. Ogilvie, B. P. Wordsworth, L. M. Priestly, R. Smith, and B. Sykes, “Segregation of structural collagen genes in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, no. 274, pp. 305–310, 1992. View at: Google Scholar
  117. J. Dubousset, P. Queneau, and M. Thillard, “Experimental scoliosis induced by pineal gland and dienephalic lesions in young chickens: its relation with clinical findings,” Orthopaedic Transactions, vol. 7, article 7, 1983. View at: Google Scholar
  118. A. Moreau, D. S. Wang, S. Forget et al., “Melatonin signaling dysfunction in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 29, no. 16, pp. 1772–1781, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  119. R. Wang, Y. Qiu, and B. Rui, “Neurotrophin-3 mRNA expression in paravertebral muscles of patients with idiopathic scoliosis,” Chinese Journal of Spine and Spinal Cord, vol. 15, pp. 532–534, 2007. View at: Google Scholar
  120. K. Kindsfater, T. Lowe, D. Lawellin, D. Weinstein, and J. Akmakjian, “Levels of platelet calmodulin for the prediction of progression and severity of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery—Series A, vol. 76, no. 8, pp. 1186–1192, 1994. View at: Google Scholar
  121. Y. Floman, M. Liebergall, G. C. Robin, and A. Eldor, “Abnormalities of aggregation, thromboxane A2 synthesis, and 14C serotonin release in platelets of patients with idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 236–241, 1983. View at: Google Scholar
  122. M. Inoue, S. Minami, Y. Nakata et al., “Prediction of curve progression in idiopathic scoliosis from gene polymorphic analysis,” Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, vol. 91, pp. 90–96, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  123. T. Lowe, D. Lawellin, D. Smith et al., “Platelet calmodulin levels in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: do the levels correlate with curve progression and severity?” Spine, vol. 27, no. 7, pp. 768–775, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  124. K. Ward, J. W. Ogilvie, M. V. Singleton, R. Chettier, G. Engler, and L. M. Nelson, “Validation of DNA-based prognostic testing to predict spinal curve progression in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 35, no. 25, pp. E1455–E1464, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  125. J. Jiang, B. Qian, S. Mao et al., “A promoter polymorphism of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 gene is associated with severity of thoracic adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 41–47, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  126. Y. Qiu, S.-H. Mao, B.-P. Qian et al., “A promoter polymorphism of neurotrophin 3 gene is associated with curve severity and bracing effectiveness in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis,” Spine, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 127–133, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  127. W. G. Tourtellotte and J. Milbrandt, “Sensory ataxia and muscle spindle agenesis in mice lacking the transcription factor Egr3,” Nature Genetics, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 87–91, 1998. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  128. S. B. Purkiss, B. Driscoll, W. G. Cole, and B. Alman, “Idiopathic scoliosis in families of children with congenital scoliosis,” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, no. 401, pp. 27–31, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  129. L. E. L. M. Vissers, C. M. A. Van Ravenswaaij, R. Admiraal et al., “Mutations in a new member of the chromodomain gene family cause CHARGE syndrome,” Nature Genetics, vol. 36, no. 9, pp. 955–957, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  130. N. L. Jacobs-Mcdaniels and R. C. Albertson, “Chd7 plays a critical role in controlling left-right symmetry during zebrafish somitogenesis,” Developmental Dynamics, vol. 240, no. 10, pp. 2272–2280, 2011. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  131. S. A. Patten, N. L. Jacobs-McDaniels, C. Zaouter, P. Drapeau, R. C. Albertson, and F. Moldovan, “Role of Chd7 in zebrafish: a model for CHARGE syndrome,” PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 2, Article ID e31650, 2012. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar

Copyright © 2012 Philip F. Giampietro. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Related articles

No related content is available yet for this article.
 PDF Download Citation Citation
 Download other formatsMore
 Order printed copiesOrder

Related articles

No related content is available yet for this article.

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.