What is Laron syndrome?
Laron syndrome is a rare genetic syndrome causing the inability of the body to utilize its growth hormone. Laron syndrome is characterized by short stature, obesity, low blood sugar in infancy, as well as short arms and legs. Individuals with Laron syndrome have a decreased risk in the development of type-2 diabetes and cancer, even if there is a family history. Maximum height reaches 4.5 feet in males and 4 feet in females with Laron syndrome. It is estimated 350 people have Laron syndrome worldwide.
What are the symptoms of Laron syndrome?
The symptoms of Laron syndrome are related to the body’s inability to use the necessary growth hormone and include:
- Short stature (height)
- Poor muscle strength
- Decreased endurance
- Facial abnormalities such as prominent forehead, small jaw and sunken nasal bridge
- Underdevelopment of genitals
- Short arms and legs
- Delayed puberty
- Abnormal development of teeth
What causes Laron syndrome?
Laron syndrome is caused by inherited changes in the gene responsible for the proper development and function of the body’s growth hormone receptor. This receptor is responsible for the ability of the body to utilize growth hormone. This hormone is necessary for cell growth and development. Laron syndrome usually must be inherited from both parents i.e. recessive inheritance. An individual who has this genetic mutation but does not have Laron syndrome is known as a carrier. In rare cases, a person can inherit this syndrome from one parent i.e. dominant inheritance.
Are there any treatment options available for Laron syndrome?
There is no known cure for Laron syndrome. Treatment currently includes the administration of a growth promoting hormone. To be most effective, the administration of this hormone should be given prior to the age of puberty onset.