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Hydrocephalus due to multiple ependymal malformations is caused by mutations in the MPDZ gene. Congenital hydrocephalus is considered as either acquired due to haemorrhage, infection or neoplasia or as of developmental nature and is divided into two subgroups, communicating and obstructive. Congenital hydrocephalus is either syndromic or non-syndromic, and in the latter no cause is found in more than half of the patients. In patients with isolated hydrocephalus, L1CAM mutations represent the most common aetiology. More recently, a founder mutation has also been reported in the MPDZ gene in foetuses presenting massive hydrocephalus, but the neuropathology remains unknown. We describe here three novel homozygous null mutations in the MPDZ gene in foetuses whose post-mortem examination has revealed a homogeneous phenotype characterized by multiple ependymal malformations along the aqueduct of Sylvius, the third and fourth ventricles as well as the central canal of the medulla, consisting in multifocal rosettes with immature cell accumulation in the vicinity of ependymal lining early detached from the ventricular zone. MPDZ also named MUPP1 is an essential component of tight junctions which are expressed from early brain development in the choroid plexuses and ependyma. Alterations in the formation of tight junctions within the ependyma very likely account for the lesions observed and highlight for the first time that primary multifocal ependymal malformations of the ventricular system is genetically determined in humans. Therefore, MPDZ sequencing should be performed when neuropathological examination reveals multifocal ependymal rosette formation within the aqueduct of Sylvius, of the third and fourth ventricles and of the central canal of the medulla.

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