Autosomal-recessive congenital sodium diarrhea (CSD) is characterized by perinatal onset of a persistent watery diarrhea with nonproportionally high fecal sodium excretion. Defective jejunal brush-border Na+/H+ exchange has been reported in three sporadic patients, but the molecular basis of the disease has not been elucidated. We reviewed data from a large cohort of CSD patients (n = 24) and distinguished CSD associated with choanal or anal atresia, hypertelorism, and corneal erosions—i.e., a syndromic form of CSD—occurring in ten families from an isolated form—i.e., classic CSD—presenting in seven families. Patients from both groups have a high risk of mortality due to immediate electrolyte imbalances and complications from long-term parenteral nutrition in the first years of life, but survivors can eventually adapt to partial or complete enteral nutrition. A genome-wide SNP scan was applied and identified a homozygous c.593−1G→A splicing mutation in SPINT2, encoding a Kunitz-type serine-protease inhibitor, in one extended kindred with syndromic CSD. The same mutation and four distinct, homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations (p.Y163C, c.1A→T, c.337+2T→C, c.553+2T→A) were identified in all syndromic patients. No SPINT2 mutations were found in classic-CSD patients. SPINT2 mutations were associated with loss of protein synthesis or failure to inhibit the serine protease trypsin in vitro. We delineate syndromic CSD as a distinct disease entity caused by SPINT2 loss-of-function mutations. SPINT2 mutations might lead to an excess of yet unknown serine protease activity in affected tissues
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