Clinical and molecular correlates in fragile X premutation females

Poonnada Jiraanont, Stefan R. Sweha, Reem R. AlOlaby, Marisol Silva, Hiu Tung Tang, Blythe Durbin-Johnson, Andrea Schneider, Glenda M. Espinal, Paul J Hagerman, Susan M. Rivera, David R Hessl, Randi J Hagerman, Nuanchan Chutabhakdikul, Flora Tassone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The prevalence of the fragile X premutation (55–200 CGG repeats) among the general population is relatively high, but there remains a lack of clear understanding of the links between molecular biomarkers and clinical outcomes. In this study we investigated the correlations between molecular measures (CGG repeat size, FMR1 mRNA, FMRP expression levels, and methylation status at the promoter region and in FREE2 site) and clinical phenotypes (anxiety, obsessive compulsive symptoms, depression and executive function deficits) in 36 adult premutation female carriers and compared to 24 normal control subjects. Premutation carriers reported higher levels of obsessive compulsive symptoms, depression, and anxiety, but demonstrated no significant deficits in global cognitive functions or executive function compared to the control group. Increased age in carriers was significantly associated with increased anxiety levels. As expected, FMR1 mRNA expression was significantly correlated with CGG repeat number. However, no significant correlations were observed between molecular (including epigenetic) measures and clinical phenotypes in this sample. Our study, albeit limited by the sample size, establishes the complexity of the mechanisms that link the FMR1 locus to the clinical phenotypes commonly observed in female carriers suggesting that other factors, including environment or additional genetic changes, may have an impact on the clinical phenotypes. However, it continues to emphasize the need for assessment and treatment of psychiatric problems in female premutation carriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Executive function
  • FREE2 methylation
  • Premutation alleles
  • Psychiatric problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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