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Neuropathology and molecular genetics of neurofibromatosis 2 and related tumors.

Brain Pathology 1995 April
Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is an uncommon, autosomal dominant disorder in which patients are predisposed to neoplastic and dysplastic lesions of Schwann cells (schwannomas and schwannosis), meningeal cells (meningiomas and meningioangiomatosis) and glial cells (gliomas and glial hamartomas). Clinical and genetic criteria that distinguish NF2 from neurofibromatosis 1 have allowed more accurate assignment of specific pathological features to NF2. The NF2 tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 22q12 encodes a widely expressed protein, named merlin, which may link the cytoskeleton and cell membrane. Germline NF2 mutations in NF2 patients and somatic NF2 mutations in sporadic schwannomas and meningiomas have different mutational spectra, but most NF2 alterations result in a truncated, inactivated merlin protein. In NF2 patients, specific mutations do not necessarily correlate with phenotypic severity, although grossly truncating alterations may result in a more severe phenotype. In schwannomas, NF2 mutations are common and may be necessary for tumorigenesis. In meningiomas, NF2 mutations occur more commonly in fibroblastic than meningothelial subtypes, and may cluster in the first half of the gene. In addition, in meningiomas, a second, non-NF2 meningioma locus is probably also involved. Future efforts in NF2 research will be directed toward elucidating the role of merlin in the normal cell and the sequelae of its inactivation in human tumors.

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