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Triple A syndrome: genotype-phenotype assessment.

[triple a syndrome]

The triple A or Allgrove syndrome is an autosomal-recessive disease (MIM*231550) characterized by the triad of achalasia, alacrima and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-resistant adrenal insufficiency. Associated features of the syndrome are neurological and dermatological abnormalities. Until the discovery of the AAAS gene as the responsible gene in triple A syndrome, the diagnosis was based on characteristic clinical features. Here we present the clinical and molecular genetic data which demonstrated the marked phenotypic variability in three unrelated patients with triple A syndrome. The final diagnosis of triple A syndrome was confirmed by molecular analysis. In one patient with isolated achalasia, the diagnosis of triple A syndrome could only be made on the basis of the molecular genetic analysis of the AAAS gene. We therefore suggest that the diagnosis of triple A syndrome should be considered in patients who exhibit only one or two of the main symptoms (i.e. alacrima, achalasia or adrenal insufficiency). These patients require careful neurological investigation, and mutation analysis of the AAAS gene should be performed.