Open Access Case report

A study of two Chinese patients with tetrasomy and pentasomy 15q11q13 including Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome critical region present with developmental delays and mental impairment

Jing Yang1, Yongchen Yang2, Yi Huang1, Yan Hu3, Xi Chen1, Hengjuan Sun1, Zhibao Lv2, Qian Cheng3* and Liming Bao124*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Clinical Molecular Medicine; Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Child Development and Disorders; Key Laboratory of Pediatrics in Chongqing; Chongqing International Science and Technology Cooperation Center for Child Development and Disorders, Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

2 Shanghai Children's Hospital, Shanghai Children's Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

3 Department of Child Health Care and Growth Developmental and Psychological Health Center, Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China

4 Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA

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BMC Medical Genetics 2013, 14:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-14-9

Published: 15 January 2013



The proximal chromosome 15q is prone to unequal crossover, leading to rearrangements. Although 15q11q13 duplications are common in patients with developmental delays and mental impairment, 15q aneusomies resulting in greater or equal to 4 copies of 15q11q13 are rare and no pentasomy 15q11q13 has been reported in the literature. Thus far, all reported high copy number 15q11q13 cases are from the West populations and no such study in Chinese patients have been documented. Dosage-response pattern of high copy number 15q11q13 on clinical presentations is still a subject for further study.

Case Presentation

In this study, we characterized two Han Chinese patients with high copy number 15q11q13. Using chromosome banding, high resolution SNP-based cytogenomic array, Fluorescence in situ hybridization, and PCR-based microsatellite analysis, we identified two patients with tetrasomy 15q11q13 and pentasomy 15q11q13. Both 15q11q13 aneusomies resulted from a maternally inherited supernumerary marker chromosome 15, and each was composed of two different sized 15q11q13 segments covering the Prader-Willi/Angelman critical region: one being about 10 Mb with breakpoints at BP1 and BP5 regions on 15q11 and 15q13, respectively, and another about 8 Mb in size with breakpoints at BP1 and BP4 regions on 15q. Both patients presented with similar clinical features that included neurodevelopmental delays, mental impairment, speech and autistic behavior, and mild dysmorphism. The patient with pentasomy 15q11q13 was more severely affected than the patient with tetrasomy 15q11q13. Low birth weight was noted in patient with pentasomy 15q1q13.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of pentasomy 15q11q13 and the first study of high copy number 15q11q13 in Han Chinese patients. Our findings demonstrate that patients with tetrasomy and pentasomy of chromosome 15q11q13 share similar spectrum of phenotypes reported in other high copy number 15q11q13 patients in the West, and positive correlation between 15q11q13 copy number and degree of severity of clinical phenotypes. Low birth weight observed in the pentasomy 15q11q13 patient was not reported in other patients with high copy number 15q11q13. Additional studies would be necessary to further characterize high copy number 15q11q13 aneusomies.

Chromosome 15; Cytogenomic array; Copy number; Pentasomy; Tetrasomy