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Free access

Helen L Storr, Leo Dunkel, Julia Kowalczyk, Martin O Savage, and Louise A Metherell

Objective and design

GH insensitivity (GHI) encompasses growth failure, low serum IGF1 and normal/elevated serum GH. By contrast, IGF1 insensitivity results in pre- and postnatal growth failure associated with relatively high IGF1 levels. From 2008 to 2013, 72 patients from 68 families (45M), mean age 7.1 years (0.4–17.0) with short stature (mean height SDS −3.9; range −9.4 to −1.5), were referred for sequencing.

Methods

As a genetics referral centre, we have sequenced appropriate candidate genes (GHR, including its pseudoexon (6Ψ), STAT5B, IGFALS, IGF1, IGF1R, OBSL1, CUL7 and CCDC8) in subjects referred with suspected GHI (n=69) or IGF1 insensitivity (n=3).

Results

Mean serum IGF1 SDS was −2.7 (range −0.9 to −8.2) in GHI patients and 2.0, 3.7 and 4.4 in patients with suspected IGF1 insensitivity. Out of 69 GHI patients, 16 (23%) (19% families) had mutations in GH–IGF1 axis genes: homozygous GHR (n=13; 6 6Ψ, two novel IVS5ds+1 G to A) and homozygous IGFALS (n=3; one novel c.1291delT). In the GHI groups, two homozygous OBSL1 mutations were also identified (height SDS −4.9 and −5.7) and two patients had hypomethylation in imprinting control region 1 in 11p15 or mUPD7 consistent with Silver–Russell syndrome (SRS) (height SDS −3.7 and −4.3). A novel heterozygous IGF1R (c.112G>A) mutation was identified in one out of three (33%) IGF1-insensitive subjects.

Conclusion

Genotyping contributed to the diagnosis of children with suspected GHI and IGF1 insensitivity, particularly in the GHI subjects with low serum IGF1 SDS (<−2.0) and height SDS (<−2.5). Diagnoses with similar phenotypes included SRS and 3-M syndrome. In 71% patients, no diagnosis was defined justifying further genetic investigation.

Open access

Li F Chan, Teng-Teng Chung, Ahmed F Massoud, Louise A Metherell, and Adrian J L Clark

Context

Familial glucocorticoid deficiency (FGD) is a rare autosomal recessive disease, characterised by isolated glucocorticoid deficiency in the absence of mineralocorticoid deficiency. Inactivating mutations in the ACTH receptor (melanocortin-2-receptor, MC2R) are well described and account for ∼25% of cases. By contrast, activating MC2R mutations are extremely rare.

Patient

We report a child of Saudi Arabian origin who was diagnosed with FGD following hypoglycaemic episodes that resulted in spastic quadriplegia.

Methods and results

MC2R gene analysis revealed an unusual combination of two homozygous missense mutations, consisting of the novel mutation Y129C and the previously described F278C activating mutation. Parents were heterozygous at both of these sites. In vitro analysis of the Y129C mutation using a fluorescent cell surface assay showed that this mutant was unable to reach the cell surface in CHO cells stably transfected with MC2R accessory protein (MRAP), despite the demonstration of an interaction with MRAP by co-immunoprecipitation. The double mutant Y129C-F278C also failed to traffic to the cell surface.

Conclusion

The tyrosine residue at position 129 in the second intracellular loop is critical in MC2R folding and/or trafficking to the cell surface. Furthermore, the absence of cell surface expression of MC2R would account for the lack of activation of the receptor due to the F278C mutation located at the C-terminal tail. We provide a novel molecular explanation for a child with two opposing mutations causing severe FGD.

Free access

Martin O Savage, Cecilia Camacho-Hübner, Alessia David, Louise A Metherell, Vivian Hwa, Ron G Rosenfeld, and Adrian J L Clark

Background: Idiopathic short stature (ISS) includes a range of conditions. Some are caused by defects in the GH–IGF-I axis. ISS is an approved indication for GH therapy in the USA and a similar approval in Europe may be imminent. Genetic analysis for single-gene defects has made enormous contributions to understanding the physiology of growth regulation. Can this type of investigation help in predicting growth responses to GH or IGF-I therapy?

Methods: The rationale for choice of GH or IGF-I therapy in ISS is reviewed. Many ISS patients have low IGF-I, but most can generate IGF-I levels in response to short-term GH administration. Some GH resistance seems to be present. Mutation analysis in several cohorts of GHIS and ISS patients is reviewed.

Results: Low IGF-I levels suggest either unrecognised GH deficiency or GH resistance. In classical GHIS patients, there was a positive relationship between IGFBP-3 levels and height SDS. No relationship exists between mutations and phenotype. There is a wide variability of phenotype in patients carrying identical mutations. Heterozygous GH receptor (GHR) mutations were present in <5% of ISS patients and their role in causing growth defects is questionable. Exceptions are dominant negative mutations that have been shown to disturb growth.

Conclusions: Analysis for single-gene defects does not give sensitive predictions of phenotype and cannot predict responses to GH or IGF-I therapy. Endocrine abnormalities have closer correlations with phenotype and may thus be a better guide to therapeutic responsiveness.

Free access

Lucy Shapiro, Sumana Chatterjee, Dina G Ramadan, Kate M Davies, Martin O Savage, Louise A Metherell, and Helen L Storr

Background

GH insensitivity (GHI) is characterised by short stature, IGF-1 deficiency and normal/elevated serum GH. IGF-1 insensitivity results in pre- and post-natal growth failure with normal/high IGF-1 levels. The prevalence of genetic defects is unknown.

Objective

To identify the underlying genetic diagnoses in a paediatric cohort with GH or IGF-1 insensitivity using candidate gene (CGS) and whole-exome sequencing (WES) and assess factors associated with the discovery of a genetic defect.

Methods

We undertook a prospective study of 132 patients with short stature and suspected GH or IGF-1 insensitivity referred to our centre for genetic analysis. 107 (96 GHI, 88 probands; 11 IGF-1 insensitivity, 9 probands) underwent CGS. WES was performed in those with no defined genetic aetiology following CGS.

Results

A genetic diagnosis was discovered 38/107 (36%) patients (32% probands) by CGS. WES revealed 11 patients with genetic variants in genes known to cause short stature. A further 2 patients had hypomethylation in the H19/IGF2 region or mUPD7 consistent with Silver–Russell Syndrome (total with genetic diagnosis 51/107, 48% or 41/97, 42% probands). WES also identified homozygous putative variants in FANCA and PHKB in 2 patients. Low height SDS and consanguinity were highly predictive for identifying a genetic defect.

Conclusions

Comprehensive genetic testing confirms the genetic heterogeneity of GH/IGF-1 insensitivity and successfully identified the genetic aetiology in a significant proportion of cases. WES is rapid and may isolate genetic variants that have been missed by traditional clinically driven genetic testing. This emphasises the benefits of specialist diagnostic centres.

Free access

Sumana Chatterjee, Lucy Shapiro, Stephen J Rose, Talat Mushtaq, Peter E Clayton, Svetlana B Ten, Amrit Bhangoo, Uma Kumbattae, Renuka Dias, Martin O Savage, Louise A Metherell, and Helen L Storr

Background

Patients with homozygous intronic pseudoexon GH receptor (GHR) mutations (6Ψ) have growth hormone insensitivity (GHI) (growth failure, IGF1 deficiency and normal/elevated serum GH). We report 9 patients in addition to previously described 11 GHR 6Ψ patients and their responses to rhIGF1 therapy.

Methods

20 patients (12 males, 11 families, mean age 4.0 ± 2.2 years) were diagnosed genetically in our centre. Phenotypic data and responses to rhIGF1 treatment were provided by referring clinicians. Continuous parametric variables were compared using Student t-test or ANOVA.

Results

10/20 (50%) had typical facial features of GHI, 19/20 (95%) from consanguineous families and 18/20 (90%) of Pakistani origin. At diagnosis, mean height SDS: −4.1 ± 0.95, IGF1 SDS: −2.8 ± 1.4; IGFBP3 SDS: −3.0 ± 2.1 and mean basal and peak GH levels: 11.9 µg/L and 32.9 µg/L, respectively. 1/12 who had IGF1 generation test, responded (IGF1: 132–255 ng/mL). 15/20 (75%; 11M) received rhIGF1 (mean dose: 114 µg/kg twice daily, mean duration: 5.3 ± 2.5 years). Mean baseline height velocity of 4.7 ± 1.1 cm/year increased to 7.4 ± 1.8 cm/year (P = 0.001) during year 1 of therapy. Year 3 mean height SDS (−3.2 ± 1.0) was higher than pre-treatment height SDS (−4.3 ± 0.8) (P = 0.03). Mean cumulative increase in height SDS after year 5 was 1.4 ± 0.9. Difference between target height (TH) SDS and adult or latest height SDS was less than that of TH SDS and pre-treatment height SDS (2.1 ± 1.2 vs 3.0 ± 0.8; P = 0.02).

Conclusion

In addition to phenotypic heterogeneity in the cohort, there was mismatch between clinical and biochemical features in individual patients with 6Ψ GHR mutations. rhIGF1 treatment improved height outcomes.

Open access

Wafa Kallali, Ewan Gray, Muhammad Zain Mehdi, Robert Lindsay, Louise A Metherell, Federica Buonocore, Jenifer P Suntharalingham, John C Achermann, and Malcolm Donaldson

Objective

CYP11A1 mutations cause P450 side-chain cleavage (scc) deficiency, a rare form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia with a wide clinical spectrum. We detail the phenotype and evolution in a male sibship identified by HaloPlex targeted capture array.

Family study

The youngest of three brothers from a non-consanguineous Scottish family presented with hyperpigmentation at 3.7 years. Investigation showed grossly impaired glucocorticoid function with ACTH elevation, moderately impaired mineralocorticoid function, and normal external genitalia. The older brothers were found to be pigmented also, with glucocorticoid impairment but normal electrolytes. Linkage studies in 2002 showed that all three brothers had inherited the same critical regions of the maternal X chromosome suggesting an X-linked disorder, but analysis of NR0B1 (DAX-1, adrenal hypoplasia) and ABCD1 (adrenoleukodystrophy) were negative.

In 2016, next-generation sequencing revealed compound heterozygosity for the rs6161 variant in CYP11A1 (c.940G>A, p.Glu314Lys), together with a severely disruptive frameshift mutation (c.790_802del, K264Lfs*5). The brothers were stable on hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone replacement, testicular volumes (15–20 mL), and serum testosterone levels (24.7, 33.3, and 27.2 nmol/L) were normal, but FSH (41.2 µ/L) was elevated in the proband. The latter had undergone left orchidectomy for suspected malignancy at the age of 25 years and was attending a fertility clinic for oligospermia. Initial histology was reported as showing nodular Leydig cell hyperplasia. However, histological review using CD56 staining confirmed testicular adrenal rest cell tumour (TART).

Conclusion

This kinship with partial P450scc deficiency demonstrates the importance of precise diagnosis in primary adrenal insufficiency to ensure appropriate counselling and management, particularly of TART.

Restricted access

Emily Cottrell, Claudia P Cabrera, Miho Ishida, Sumana Chatterjee, James Greening, Neil Wright, Artur Bossowski, Leo Dunkel, Asma Deeb, Iman Al Basiri, Stephen J Rose, Avril Mason, Susan Bint, Joo Wook Ahn, Vivian Hwa, Louise A Metherell, Gudrun E Moore, and Helen L Storr

Objective

Copy number variation (CNV) has been associated with idiopathic short stature, small for gestational age and Silver-Russell syndrome (SRS). It has not been extensively investigated in growth hormone insensitivity (GHI; short stature, IGF-1 deficiency and normal/high GH) or previously in IGF-1 insensitivity (short stature, high/normal GH and IGF-1).

Design and methods

Array comparative genomic hybridisation was performed with ~60 000 probe oligonucleotide array in GHI (n = 53) and IGF-1 insensitivity (n = 10) subjects. Published literature, mouse models, DECIPHER CNV tracks, growth associated GWAS loci and pathway enrichment analyses were used to identify key biological pathways/novel candidate growth genes within the CNV regions.

Results

Both cohorts were enriched for class 3–5 CNVs (7/53 (13%) GHI and 3/10 (30%) IGF-1 insensitivity patients). Interestingly, 6/10 (60%) CNV subjects had diagnostic/associated clinical features of SRS. 5/10 subjects (50%) had CNVs previously reported in suspected SRS: 1q21 (n = 2), 12q14 (n = 1) deletions and Xp22 (n = 1), Xq26 (n = 1) duplications. A novel 15q11 deletion, previously associated with growth failure but not SRS/GHI was identified. Bioinformatic analysis identified 45 novel candidate growth genes, 15 being associated with growth in GWAS. The WNT canonical pathway was enriched in the GHI cohort and CLOCK was identified as an upstream regulator in the IGF-1 insensitivity cohorts.

Conclusions

Our cohort was enriched for low frequency CNVs. Our study emphasises the importance of CNV testing in GHI and IGF-1 insensitivity patients, particularly GHI subjects with SRS features. Functional experimental evidence is now required to validate the novel candidate growth genes, interactions and biological pathways identified.