Waardenburg Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Waardenburg Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • WS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Waardenburg syndrome is a genetic disorder that may be evident at birth (congenital). The range and severity of associated symptoms and findings may vary greatly from case to case. However, primary features often include distinctive facial abnormalities; unusually diminished coloration (pigmentation) of the hair, the skin, and/or the iris of both eyes (irides); and/or congenital deafness. More specifically, some affected individuals may have an unusually wide nasal bridge due to sideways (lateral) displacement of the inner angles (canthi) of the eyes (dystopia canthorum). In addition, pigmentary abnormalities may include a white lock of hair growing above the forehead (white forelock); premature graying or whitening of the hair; differences in the coloration of the two irides or in different regions of the same iris (heterochromia irides); and/or patchy, abnormally light (depigmented) regions of skin (leukoderma). Some affected individuals may also have hearing impairment due to abnormalities of the inner ear (sensorineural deafness).

Researchers have described different types of Waardenburg syndrome (WS), based upon associated symptoms and specific genetic findings. For example, Waardenburg syndrome type I (WS1) is characteristically associated with sideways displacement of the inner angles of the eyes (i.e., dystopia canthorum), yet type II (WS2) is not associated with this feature. In addition, WS1 and WS2 are known to be caused by alterations (mutations) of different genes. Another form, known as type III (WS3), has been described in which characteristic facial, eye (ocular), and hearing (auditory) abnormalities may be associated with distinctive malformations of the arms and hands (upper limbs). A fourth form, known as WS4 or Waardenburg-Hirschsprung disease, may be characterized by primary features of WS in association with Hirschsprung disease. The latter is a digestive (gastrointestinal) disorder in which there is absence of groups of specialized nerve cell bodies within a region of the smooth (involuntary) muscle wall of the large intestine.

In most cases, Waardenburg syndrome is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait. A number of different disease genes have been identified that may cause Waardenburg syndrome in certain individuals or families (kindreds).

Supporting Organizations

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

3417 Volta Place NW
Washington, DC 20007-2778
United States
Tel: (202)337-5220
Fax: (202)337-8314
Tel: (866)337-5220
Email: info@agbell.org
Website: http://www.agbell.org

American Academy of Audiology

11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190
Tel: (703)790-8466
Fax: (703)790-8631
Tel: (800)222-2336
Email: infoaud@audiology.org
Website: http://www.audiology.org

American Council of the Blind

2200 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 650
Arlington, VA 22201
Tel: (202)467-5081
Fax: (202)465-5085
Tel: (800)424-8666
Email: mailman@acb.org
Website: http://www.acb.org/

American Foundation for the Blind

2 Penn Plaza
Suite 1102
New York, NY 10121
Tel: (212)502-7600
Fax: (888)545-8331
Tel: (800)232-5463
Email: afbinfo@afb.net
Website: http://www.afb.org

Cleft Lip and Palate Foundation of Smiles

2044 Michael Ave SW
Wyoming, MI 49509
Tel: (616)329-1335
Email: Rachelmancuso09@comcast.net
Website: http://www.cleftsmile.org

FACES: The National Craniofacial Association

PO Box 11082
Chattanooga, TN 37401
Tel: (423)266-1632
Fax: (423)267-3124
Tel: (800)332-2373
Email: faces@faces-cranio.org
Website: http://www.faces-cranio.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Hearing Loss Association of America

7910 Woodmont Avenue
Suite 1200
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: (301)657-2248
Fax: (301)913-9413
Email: info@hearingloss.org
Website: http://www.hearingloss.org

Let Them Hear Foundation

1900 University Avenue, Suite 101
East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Tel: (650)462-3174
Fax: (650)462-3144
Email: info@letthemhear.org
Website: http://www.letthemhear.org

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Website: http://www.marchofdimes.com

NIH/National Eye Institute

31 Center Dr
MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
United States
Tel: (301)496-5248
Fax: (301)402-1065
Email: 2020@nei.nih.gov
Website: http://www.nei.nih.gov/

National Association of the Deaf

8630 Fenton Street
Suite 820
Silver Springs, MD 20910
USA
Tel: (301)587-1788
Fax: (301)587-1791
Email: NADinfo@nad.org
Website: http://www.nad.org

National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness

The Teaching Research Institute
345 N. Monmouth Avenue
Monmouth, OR 97361
Tel: (800)438-9376
Fax: (503)838-8150
Tel: (800)438-9376
Email: info@nationaldb.org
Website: http://www.nationaldb.org

National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH)

PO Box 959
East Hempstead, NH 03826-0959
Tel: (603)887-2310
Fax: (800)648-2310
Tel: (800)473-2310
Email: noah@albinism.org
Website: http://www.albinism.org

National Vitiligo Foundation

11250 Cornell Park Drive
Suite 207
Cincinnati, OH 45242
USA
Tel: (513)793-6834
Fax: (513)793-6887
Email: info@nvfi.org
Website: http://www.nvfi.org

Perkins School for the Blind

175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 2472
Tel: (617)924-3434
Fax: (617)926-2027
Email: Info@Perkins.org
Website: http://www.Perkins.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  1/12/1970
Copyright  2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.