The authors report on seven patients, six males and one female, with Joubert's syndrome who underwent developmental evaluation, neurologic and ophthalmologic examinations, and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. All patients had severe developmental delay, hypotonia, impairment of smooth visual pursuit, and saccadic eye movements. Six had jerky eye movements and ptosis was observed in two patients and retinal dystrophy in one. The posterior lobe of the vermis was absent in all patients and the small rudimentary anterior lobe lacked fusion in the midline, with cleft formation in five patients. Malformation of the pontomesencephalic junction, with prominent superior cerebellar peduncles and deep interpeduncular fossa, was observed in all patients. Abnormal cerebellar-brainstem and cerebellocortical connections because of the lack of the posterior vermis and dysplasia of the deep cerebellar nuclei might be responsible for the abnormal eye movements and retarded development in Joubert's syndrome. Correlation between radiologic findings and clinical symptoms and the possible role of abnormal patterning of the midbrain-hindbrain by homeotic genes during embryonic development are reviewed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Clinical Neurology