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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Von Hippel-Lindau disease


Other Names for this Disease
  • VHL
  • VHL syndrome
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
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Inheritance


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Is Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease inherited?

Mutations in the VHL gene are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means that one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to increase the risk of developing tumors and cysts. Most people with VHL disease inherit an altered copy of the gene from an affected parent. In about 20 percent of cases, however, the altered gene is the result of a new mutation that occurred during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs or sperm) or very early in development.[1]

Unlike most autosomal dominant conditions, in which one altered copy of a gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder, two copies of the VHL gene must be altered to trigger tumor and cyst formation in VHL disease. A mutation in the second copy of the VHL gene occurs during a person's lifetime in certain cells within organs such as the brain, retina, and kidneys. Cells with two altered copies of this gene make no functional VHL protein, which allows tumors and cysts to develop. Almost everyone who inherits one VHL mutation will eventually acquire a mutation in the second copy of the gene in some cells, leading to the features of VHL disease.[1]

Last updated: 5/20/2013

References
  1. Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). July 2008; http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/von-hippel-lindau-syndrome. Accessed 7/5/2011.