Hyperphagia, Growth, and Puberty in Children with Angelman Syndrome

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Angelman Syndrome (AS) is a rare genetic disorder caused by lack of maternal UBE3A protein due to a deletion of the chromosome 15q11.2-q13 region, uniparental paternal disomy, imprinting center defect, or pathogenic variant in the UBE3A gene. Characteristics are developmental delay, epilepsy, behavioral, and sleep problems. There is some evidence for hyperphagia, shorter stature, and higher BMI compared to neurotypical children, but longitudinal studies on growth are lacking. In this study, we analyzed prospectively collected data of 145 children with AS, who visited the ENCORE Expertise Center between 2010 and 2021, with a total of 853 visits. Children showed an elevated mean score of 25 on the Dykens Hyperphagia questionnaire (range 11–55) without genotype association. Higher scores were significantly associated with higher body mass index (BMI) standard deviation scores (SDS) (p = 0.004). Mean height was −1.2 SDS (SD 1.3), mean BMI-SDS was 0.6 (SD 1.7); 43% had a BMI-SDS > 1 and 20% had a BMI-SDS > 2. Higher BMI-SDS was significantly associated with non-deletion genotype (p = 0.037) and walking independently (p = 0.023). Height SDS decreased significantly with age (p < 0.001) and BMI-SDS increased significantly with age (p < 0.001. Onset of puberty was normal. In conclusion, children with AS showed moderate hyperphagia, lower height SDS, and higher BMI-SDS compared to norm data, with increasing deviation from the norm with age. It is uncertain how loss of maternal UBE3A function may influence growth. Attention to diet, exercise, and hyperphagia from an early age is recommended to prevent obesity and associated health problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5981
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2023

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