Prenatal phenotype of 22q11 micro-duplications: A systematic review and report on 12 new cases.

The 22q11 region is prone to generating recurring Copy Number Variations (CNVs) as a result of the large numbers of Low Copy Repeats (LCRs). Typical duplications encompass the LCR-A-to-D region but atypical duplications of various sizes have also been reported. These duplications are responsible for highly variable phenotypes with incomplete penetrance and expressivity, which is challenging for adequate genetic counselling, especially in the prenatal period. To better delineate prenatal phenotypes associated with these CNVs, we report here a clinical and molecular description of twelve cases (9 foetuses and 3 deceased new-borns babies) carrying recurrent 22q11 duplications (diagnosed via aCGH), along with a review of the existing literature. 22q11 duplications were inherited from an apparently healthy parent in almost 60% of the cases. Other CNVs were diagnosed for 8% of the cases. Increased nuchal translucency and cardiac anomalies (CHD) were the most prominent phenotypes observed, along with mild renal and skeletal anomalies. Duplications encompassing the LCR-C-to-D region (and the CRKL gene) seemed more likely to generate CHDs and renal malformations. Cleft lip/palate were observed in foetuses with duplications encompassing the LCR-A-to-B region or the SPECC1L gene, as previously suggested. However, genotype-phenotype correlations remain difficult to ascertain. Second-hit point variants, epigenetic or environmental variations could play a role in the phenotypic variability of 22q11 duplications, but remain a challenge for assessment in the short period of pregnancy.