Expert review of molecular diagnostics 2017 07 26() doi 10.1080/14737159.2017.1360766
Advances in genetics allowed a better definition of the role of specific genetic background in the etiology of syndromic congenital heart defects (CHDs). The identification of a number of disease genes responsible for different syndromes have led to the identification of several transcriptional regulators and signaling transducers and modulators that are critical for heart morphogenesis. Understanding the genetic background of syndromic CHDs allowed a better characterization of the genetic basis of non-syndromic CHDs. In this sense, the well-known association of typical CHDs in Down syndrome, 22q11.2 microdeletion and Noonan syndrome represent paradigms as chromosomal aneuploidy, chromosomal microdeletion and intragenic mutation, respectively. Area covered: For each syndrome the anatomical features, distinctive cardiac phenotype and molecular mechanisms are discussed. Moreover, the authors include recent genetic findings that may shed light on some aspects of still unclear molecular mechanisms of these syndromes. Expert commentary: Further investigations are needed to enhance the translational approach in the field of genetics of CHDs. When there is a well-established definition of genotype-phenotype (reverse medicine) and genotype-prognosis (predictive and personalized medicine) correlations, hopefully preventive medicine will make its way in this field. Subsequently a reduction will be achieved in the morbidity and mortality of children with CHDs.