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Andrew A Dwyer, Taneli Raivio and Nelly Pitteloud

Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) is characterized by lack of puberty and infertility. Traditionally, it has been considered a life-long condition yet cases of reversibility have been described wherein patients spontaneously recover function of the reproductive axis following treatment. Reversibility occurs in both male and female CHH cases and appears to be more common (~10–15%) than previously thought. These reversal patients span a range of GnRH deficiency from mild to severe and many reversal patients harbor mutations in genes underlying CHH. However, to date there are no clear factors for predicting reversible CHH. Importantly, recovery of reproductive axis function may not be permanent. Thus, CHH is not always life-long and the incidence of reversal warrants periodic treatment withdrawal with close monitoring and follow-up. Reversible CHH highlights the importance of environmental (epigenetic) factors such as sex steroid treatment on the reproductive axis in modifying the phenotype. This review provides an overview and an update on what is known about this phenomenon.

Free access

Luigi Maione, Andrew A Dwyer, Bruno Francou, Anne Guiochon-Mantel, Nadine Binart, Jérôme Bouligand and Jacques Young

Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) and Kallmann syndrome (KS) are rare, related diseases that prevent normal pubertal development and cause infertility in affected men and women. However, the infertility carries a good prognosis as increasing numbers of patients with CHH/KS are now able to have children through medically assisted procreation. These are genetic diseases that can be transmitted to patients’ offspring. Importantly, patients and their families should be informed of this risk and given genetic counseling. CHH and KS are phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous diseases in which the risk of transmission largely depends on the gene(s) responsible(s). Inheritance may be classically Mendelian yet more complex; oligogenic modes of transmission have also been described. The prevalence of oligogenicity has risen dramatically since the advent of massively parallel next-generation sequencing (NGS) in which tens, hundreds or thousands of genes are sequenced at the same time. NGS is medically and economically more efficient and more rapid than traditional Sanger sequencing and is increasingly being used in medical practice. Thus, it seems plausible that oligogenic forms of CHH/KS will be increasingly identified making genetic counseling even more complex. In this context, the main challenge will be to differentiate true oligogenism from situations when several rare variants that do not have a clear phenotypic effect are identified by chance. This review aims to summarize the genetics of CHH/KS and to discuss the challenges of oligogenic transmission and also its role in incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity in a perspective of genetic counseling.

Free access

Andrew A Dwyer, Franziska Phan-Hug, Michael Hauschild, Eglantine Elowe-Gruau and Nelly Pitteloud

Puberty is a remarkable developmental process with the activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis culminating in reproductive capacity. It is accompanied by cognitive, psychological, emotional, and sociocultural changes. There is wide variation in the timing of pubertal onset, and this process is affected by genetic and environmental influences. Disrupted puberty (delayed or absent) leading to hypogonadism may be caused by congenital or acquired etiologies and can have significant impact on both physical and psychosocial well-being. While adolescence is a time of growing autonomy and independence, it is also a time of vulnerability and thus, the impact of hypogonadism can have lasting effects. This review highlights the various forms of hypogonadism in adolescence and the clinical challenges in differentiating normal variants of puberty from pathological states. In addition, hormonal treatment, concerns regarding fertility, emotional support, and effective transition to adult care are discussed.

Free access

Felecia Cerrato, Jenna Shagoury, Milena Kralickova, Andrew Dwyer, John Falardeau, Metin Ozata, Guy Van Vliet, Pierre Bouloux, Janet E Hall, Frances J Hayes, Nelly Pitteloud, Kathryn A Martin, Corrine Welt and Stephanie B Seminara

Objective: To determine the frequency of rare nucleotide variants in GNRHR and GPR54 in a large cohort of probands (n = 166) with normosmic idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (nIHH), characterized by mode of inheritance, testicular volume, and presence or absence of endogenous LH pulsations.

Methods: Whenever possible, probands answered detailed questionnaires, underwent full physical exams, and underwent q 10-min frequent blood sampling for LH. Exons segments for GNRHR and GPR54 were screened for mutations. Nucleotide changes were identified as rare variants if they occurred at less than 1% frequency in an ethnically matched control population.

Results: Sixty-two percent of male probands were classified as sporadic, meaning that no other family members had delayed puberty or nIHH. In contrast, 61% of female probands were from familial pedigrees, with either autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive inheritance. Patients displayed a broad spectrum of disease severity based on testicular size and endogenous LH pulsations. Twenty-four rare variants were identified in GNRHR (within 15 probands) and seven rare variants in GPR54 (within five probands).

Conclusions: Rare variants in GNRHR are more common than GPR54 in a nIHH population.

Restricted access

Luigi Maione, Giovanna Pala, Claire Bouvattier, Séverine Trabado, Georgios Papadakis, Philippe Chanson, Jérôme Bouligand, Nelly Pitteloud, Andrew A Dwyer, Mohamad Maghnie and Jacques Young

Context

Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism/Kallmann syndrome (CHH/KS) is a rare condition characterized by gonadotropin deficiency and pubertal failure. Adult height (AH) in patients with CHH/KS has not been well studied.

Objective

To assess AH in a large cohort of patients with CHH/KS.

Patients

A total of 219 patients (165 males, 54 females). Parents and siblings were included.

Methods

AH was assessed in patients and family members. AH was compared to the general French population, mid parental target height (TH) and between patients and same-sex siblings. Delta height (∆H) was considered as the difference between AH and parental TH. ∆H was compared between patients and siblings, normosmic CHH and KS (CHH with anosmia/hyposmia), and according to underlying genetic defect. We examined the correlations between ∆H and age at diagnosis and therapeutically induced individual statural gain.

Results

Mean AH in men and women with CHH/KS was greater than that in the French general population. Patients of both sexes had AH > TH. Males with CHH/KS were significantly, albeit moderately, taller than their brothers. ∆H was higher in CHH/KS compared to unaffected siblings (+6.2 ± 7.2 cm vs +3.4 ± 5.2 cm, P < 0.0001). ∆H was positively correlated with age at diagnosis. Neither olfactory function (normosmic CHH vs KS) nor specific genetic cause impacted ∆H. Individual growth during replacement therapy inversely correlated with the age at initiation of hormonal treatment (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions

CHH/KS is associated with higher AH compared to the general population and mid-parental TH. Greater height in CHH/KS than siblings indicates that those differences are in part independent of an intergenerational effect.

Open access

Daniele Cassatella, Sasha R Howard, James S Acierno, Cheng Xu, Georgios E Papadakis, Federico A Santoni, Andrew A Dwyer, Sara Santini, Gerasimos P Sykiotis, Caroline Chambion, Jenny Meylan, Laura Marino, Lucie Favre, Jiankang Li, Xuanzhu Liu, Jianguo Zhang, Pierre-Marc Bouloux, Christian De Geyter, Anne De Paepe, Waljit S Dhillo, Jean-Marc Ferrara, Michael Hauschild, Mariarosaria Lang-Muritano, Johannes R Lemke, Christa Flück, Attila Nemeth, Franziska Phan-Hug, Duarte Pignatelli, Vera Popovic, Sandra Pekic, Richard Quinton, Gabor Szinnai, Dagmar l’Allemand, Daniel Konrad, Saba Sharif, Özlem Turhan Iyidir, Brian J Stevenson, Huanming Yang, Leo Dunkel and Nelly Pitteloud

Objective

Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) and constitutional delay of growth and puberty (CDGP) represent rare and common forms of GnRH deficiency, respectively. Both CDGP and CHH present with delayed puberty, and the distinction between these two entities during early adolescence is challenging. More than 30 genes have been implicated in CHH, while the genetic basis of CDGP is poorly understood.

Design

We characterized and compared the genetic architectures of CHH and CDGP, to test the hypothesis of a shared genetic basis between these disorders.

Methods

Exome sequencing data were used to identify rare variants in known genes in CHH (n = 116), CDGP (n = 72) and control cohorts (n = 36 874 ExAC and n = 405 CoLaus).

Results

Mutations in at least one CHH gene were found in 51% of CHH probands, which is significantly higher than in CDGP (7%, P = 7.6 × 10−11) or controls (18%, P = 5.5 × 10−12). Similarly, oligogenicity (defined as mutations in more than one gene) was common in CHH patients (15%) relative to CDGP (1.4%, P = 0.002) and controls (2%, P = 6.4 × 10−7).

Conclusions

Our data suggest that CDGP and CHH have distinct genetic profiles, and this finding may facilitate the differential diagnosis in patients presenting with delayed puberty.