Muenke syndrome is a condition characterized by the premature closure of certain bones of the skull (craniosynostosis) during development, which affects the shape of the head and face.
Many people with this disorder have a premature fusion of skull bones along the coronal suture, the growth line that goes over the head from ear to ear. Other parts of the skull may also be malformed. These changes can result in an abnormally shaped head, wide-set eyes, and flattened cheekbones. About 5 percent of affected individuals have an enlarged head (macrocephaly). People with Muenke syndrome may also have mild abnormalities of the hands or feet, and hearing loss has been observed in some cases. Most people with this condition have normal intellect, but developmental delay and learning problems are possible.
The signs and symptoms of Muenke syndrome vary among affected people, and some features overlap with those seen in other craniosynostosis syndromes. A small percentage of people with the gene mutation associated with Muenke syndrome do not have any of the characteristic features of the disorder.
Muenke syndrome occurs in about 1 in 30,000 newborns. This condition accounts for an estimated 4 percent of all cases of craniosynostosis.
A particular mutation in the FGFR3 gene causes Muenke syndrome. The FGFR3 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is involved in the development and maintenance of bone and brain tissue. The mutation associated with Muenke syndrome causes the FGFR3 protein to be overly active, which interferes with normal bone growth and allows the bones of the skull to fuse before they should.
This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder.
Other Names for This Condition
- FGFR3-associated coronal synostosis
- Muenke nonsyndromic coronal craniosynostosis
Additional Information & Resources
Genetic Testing Information
Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center
Research Studies from ClinicalTrials.gov
Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM
Scientific Articles on PubMed
- Agochukwu NB, Solomon BD, Muenke M. Impact of genetics on the diagnosis and clinical management of syndromic craniosynostoses. Childs Nerv Syst. 2012 Sep;28(9):1447-63. doi: 10.1007/s00381-012-1756-2. Epub 2012 Aug 8. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
- Doherty ES, Lacbawan F, Hadley DW, Brewer C, Zalewski C, Kim HJ, Solomon B, Rosenbaum K, Domingo DL, Hart TC, Brooks BP, Immken L, Lowry RB, Kimonis V, Shanske AL, Jehee FS, Bueno MR, Knightly C, McDonald-McGinn D, Zackai EH, Muenke M. Muenke syndrome (FGFR3-related craniosynostosis): expansion of the phenotype and review of the literature. Am J Med Genet A. 2007 Dec 15;143A(24):3204-15. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.32078. Citation on PubMed
- Kruszka P, Addissie YA, Yarnell CM, Hadley DW, Guillen Sacoto MJ, Platte P, Paelecke Y, Collmann H, Snow N, Schweitzer T, Boyadjiev SA, Aravidis C, Hall SE, Mulliken JB, Roscioli T, Muenke M. Muenke syndrome: An international multicenter natural history study. Am J Med Genet A. 2016 Apr;170A(4):918-29. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.37528. Epub 2016 Jan 6. Citation on PubMed
- Kruszka P, Rolle M, Kahle KT, Muenke M. Muenke Syndrome. 2006 May 10 [updated 2023 Mar 30]. In: Adam MP, Mirzaa GM, Pagon RA, Wallace SE, Bean LJH, Gripp KW, Amemiya A, editors. GeneReviews(R) [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2023. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1415/ Citation on PubMed
- Sabatino G, Di Rocco F, Zampino G, Tamburrini G, Caldarelli M, Di Rocco C. Muenke syndrome. Childs Nerv Syst. 2004 May;20(5):297-301. doi: 10.1007/s00381-003-0906-y. Epub 2004 Feb 10. Citation on PubMed
- Vajo Z, Francomano CA, Wilkin DJ. The molecular and genetic basis of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 disorders: the achondroplasia family of skeletal dysplasias, Muenke craniosynostosis, and Crouzon syndrome with acanthosis nigricans. Endocr Rev. 2000 Feb;21(1):23-39. doi: 10.1210/edrv.21.1.0387. Citation on PubMed
- Wenger T, Miller D, Evans K. FGFR Craniosynostosis Syndromes Overview. 1998 Oct 20 [updated 2020 Apr 30]. In: Adam MP, Mirzaa GM, Pagon RA, Wallace SE, Bean LJH, Gripp KW, Amemiya A, editors. GeneReviews(R) [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2023. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1455/ Citation on PubMed