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Pfeiffer syndrome

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Title: Pfeiffer syndrome  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Cell surface receptor deficiencies, Antley–Bixler syndrome, Donohue syndrome, List of genetic disorders, Chromosome 8 (human)
Collection: Cell Surface Receptor Deficiencies, Genodermatoses, Syndromes
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Pfeiffer syndrome

Pfeiffer syndrome
Classification and external resources
OMIM 101600
DiseasesDB 32145
MeSH D000168

Pfeiffer syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain bones of the skull (craniosynostosis), which prevents further growth of the skull and affects the shape of the head and face.[1]:577 Pfeiffer syndrome also affects bones in the hands and feet.

It is named after Rudolf Arthur Pfeiffer (b. 1931)[2][3] who, in 1964, described a list of features that included a coronal synostosis, turribrachycephaly (high prominent forehead) and maxillary hypoplasia (eyes with a bulging appearance due to small underlying cheek bones). Pfeiffer syndrome affects about 1 in 100,000 births.[4]


Pfeiffer syndrome is strongly associated with mutations of Fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 and 2. These receptors are important for normal bone development.[5]


Many of the characteristic facial features that Pfeiffer described in Pfeiffer syndrome result from the premature fusion of the skull bones. The head is unable to grow normally, which leads to eyes that appear to bulge (proptosis) and are wide-set (hypertelorism), an underdeveloped upper jaw, and a beaked nose. About 50 percent of children with Pfeiffer syndrome have hearing loss (see hearing loss with craniofacial syndromes), and dental problems are also common. Broad thumbs and toes are extra-cranial features of this syndrome.

In people with Pfeiffer syndrome, the thumbs and first (big) toes are wide and bend away from the other digits. Unusually short fingers and toes (brachydactyly) are also common, and there may be some webbing or fusion between the digits (syndactyly).


Pfeiffer syndrome is divided into three subtypes.

  • Type 1, also known as classic Pfeiffer syndrome, has symptoms as described above. Most individuals with type 1 Pfeiffer syndrome have normal intelligence and a normal life span.
  • Types 2 and 3 are more severe forms of Pfeiffer syndrome that often involve problems with the nervous system. The premature fusion of skull bones can limit brain growth, leading to delayed development and other neurological problems.
    • Type 2 is distinguished from type 3 by the presence of a cloverleaf-shaped head, which is caused by more extensive fusion of bones in the skull.


  1. ^ James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Saunders. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
  2. ^ synd/3477 at Who Named It?
  3. ^ Pfeiffer RA (1964). "Dominant Hereditary Acrocephalosyndactylia". Zeitschrift für Kinderheilkunde (in German) 90: 301–20.  
  4. ^ Vogels A, Fryns JP (2006). "Pfeiffer syndrome". Orphanet J Rare Dis 1: 19.  
  5. ^ Chan CT, Thorogood P (January 1999). "Pleiotropic features of syndromic craniosynostoses correlate with differential expression of fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 2 during human craniofacial development". Pediatr Res. 45 (1): 46–53.  

External links

  • GeneReviews/NIH/NCBI/UW entry on FGFR-Related Craniosynostosis Syndromes
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