Objective: To identify the underlying genetic cause for recurrent intrauterine fetal death (IUFD) of males. Methods: Whole genome sequencing was performed on DNA from five healthy obligatory carrier females and an unaffected male offspring of a multigenerational pedigree with recurrent second-trimester IUFD of males (n = 19). When documented, all deaths occurred at ≤20 weeks of gestation. Hydrops fetalis was diagnosed at death in the most recent case. Results: Following variant filtering based on a recessive X-linked inheritance pattern, a rare FOXP3 frameshift mutation (p.D303fs*87) that results in a premature truncation of the protein was discovered. Sanger sequencing confirmed the mutation in the affected fetus. The FOXP3 gene encodes for a transcriptional regulator critical to the function of regulatory T cells. FOXP3 mutations are associated with immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, and X-linked (IPEX) syndrome which exclusively affects males and may present with a potentially life-threatening complex autoimmune disorder in early childhood. Conclusions: Here, we demonstrate the utility of whole genome sequencing-based pedigree analysis to identify the genetic cause for recurrent IUFD when chromosome studies, including microarray analysis, are normal. Further studies are needed to determine the prevalence of FOXP3-mediated IUFD in males.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology