[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the GnRH receptor (GNRHR) have been described as a cause of reproductive failure in a subset of patients with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH). Given the apparent rarity of these mutations, we set out to determine the frequency and distribution of GNRHR mutations in a heterogeneous population of patients with IHH who were well characterized with respect to diagnosis, phenotype, and mode of inheritance and to define their distribution within the receptor protein. One hundred and eight probands with IHH were screened for mutations in the coding sequence of GNRHR. Forty-eight of the 108 patients had a normal sense of smell, whereas the remaining 60 had anosmia or hyposmia (Kallmann syndrome). Exon segments in the GNRHR were screened for mutations using temperature gradient gel electrophoresis, and all mutations were confirmed by direct sequencing. Five unrelated probands (3 men and 2 women), all normosmic, were documented to have changes in the coding sequence of the GNRHR. Two of these probands were from a subgroup of 5 kindreds consistent with a recessive mode of inheritance, establishing a GNRHR mutation frequency of 2 of 5 (40%) in patients with normosmic, autosomal recessive IHH. The remaining 3 probands with GNRHR mutations were from a subgroup of 18 patients without evidence of familial involvement, indicating a prevalence of 3 of 18 (16.7%) in patients with sporadic IHH and a normal sense of smell. Among the five individuals bearing GNRHR mutations, a broad spectrum of phenotypes was noted, including testicular sizes in the male that varied from prepubertal to the normal adult male range. Three probands had compound heterozygous mutations, and two had homozygous mutations. Of the eight DNA sequence changes identified, four were novel: Thr(32)Ile, Cys(200)Tyr, Leu(266)Arg, and Cys(279)TYR: COS-7 cells transiently transfected with complementary DNAs encoding the human GNRHR containing each of these four novel mutations failed to respond to GnRH agonist stimulation. We conclude that 1) the spectrum of phenotypes in patients with GNRHR mutations is much broader than originally anticipated; 2) the frequency of GNRHR mutations may be more common than previously appreciated in familial cases of normosmic IHH and infrequent in sporadic cases; and 3) functional mutations of the GNRHR are distributed widely throughout the protein.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kallmann syndrome (KS) consists of congenital, isolated, idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) and anosmia. The gene responsible for the X-linked form of KS, KAL, encodes a protein, anosmin, that plays a key role in the migration of GnRH neurons and olfactory nerves to the hypothalamus. In addition to X-linked pedigrees, autosomal dominant and recessive kindreds with KS have been reported. The relative importance of these autosomal vs. X-linked genes in producing KS, and the frequency of KAL mutations, are currently unknown because these are rare disorders and large series are unusual. We examined 101 individuals with IHH (+/- anosmia) and their families to determine their modes of inheritance, incidence of mutations in the coding sequence of KAL, genotype-phenotype correlations, and [in a subset (n = 38)] their neuroendocrine phenotype. Of the 101 patients, 59 had true KS (IHH + anosmia/hyposmia); whereas, in the remaining 42, no anosmia was evident in the patients or their families. Of the 59 KS patients, 21 were familial, whereas 38 were sporadic cases. Mutations in the coding sequence of KAL were identified in only 3 of 21 familial cases (14%) and 4 of 38 (11%) of the sporadic cases. Of the X-linked cases confirmed by mutational analysis, only 1 of 3 pedigrees appeared X-linked by inspection whereas the other 2 contained only affected brothers. Female members of known KAL mutation families (n = 3) exhibited no reproductive phenotype and were not anosmic, whereas families with anosmic women (n = 3) were not found to carry mutations in KAL. Mutations were uniformly absent in nonanosmic IHH probands (n = 42), as well as in families with both anosmic and nonanosmic members (n = 2). Overall, 4 novel mutations were identified (C172R, R191x, R457x, and delC@L600). With respect to neuroendocrine phenotype, KS men with documented KAL mutations (n = 8) had completely apulsatile LH secretion, whereas those with autosomal modes of inheritance demonstrated a more variable spectrum with evidence of enfeebled (but present) GnRH-induced LH pulses. Our conclusions are: 1) Confirmed mutations in the coding sequence of the KAL gene occur in the minority of KS cases, i.e. only 14% of familial and 11% of sporadic cases; 2) The majority of familial (and presumably sporadic) cases of KS are caused by defects in at least two autosomal genes that are currently unknown; 3) Obligate female carriers in families with KAL mutations have no discernible phenotype; 4) KAL mutations are uniformly absent in patients with either normosmic IHH or in families with both anosmic and nonanosmic individuals; and 5) Patients with KAL mutations have apulsatile LH secretion consistent with a complete absence of GnRH migration of GnRH cells into the hypothalamus, whereas evidence of present (but enfeebled) GnRH-induced LH pulses may be present in autosomal KS cases. Taken together, these findings suggest that autosomal genes account for the majority of familial cases of KS, and that unique neuroendocrine phenotypes consistent with some GnRH neuronal migration may exist in these patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Determining the physiologic influences that modulate GnRH secretion, the prime initiator of reproductive function in the human, is fundamental not only to our understanding of the rare condition of congenital idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH), but also common disorders such as constitutional delay of puberty and hypothalamic amenorrhea. IHH is characterized by low levels of sex steroids and gonadotropins, normal findings on radiographic imaging of the hypothalamic-pituitary regions, and normal baseline and reserve testing of the remainder of the hypothalamic-pituitary axes. Failure of the normal pattern of episodic GnRH secretion results in delay of puberty and infertility. IHH is characterized by rich clinical and genetic heterogeneity, variable modes of inheritance, and association with other anomalies. To date, 4 genes have been identified as causes of IHH in the human; KAL [the gene for X-linked Kallmann syndrome (IHH and anosmia)], DAX1 [the gene for X-linked adrenal hypoplasia congenita (IHH and adrenal insufficiency)], GNRHR (the GnRH receptor), and PC1 (the gene for prohormone convertase 1, causing a syndrome of IHH and defects in prohormone processing). As these mutations account for less than 20% of all IHH cases, discovery of additional gene mutations will continue to advance our understanding of this intriguing syndrome.
Journal of endocrinological investigation 11/2000; 23(9):560-5. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GnRH receptor mutations have recently been identified in a small number of familial cases of nonanosmic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. In the present report we studied a kindred in which two sisters with primary amenorrhea were affected with GnRH deficiency due to a compound heterozygote mutation (Gln(106)Arg, Arg(262)Gln) and performed extensive phenotyping studies. Baseline patterns of gonadotropin secretion and gonadotropin responsiveness to exogenous pulsatile GnRH were examined in the proband. Low amplitude pulses of both LH and free alpha-subunit (FAS) were detected during 24 h of every 10 min blood sampling. The proband then received exogenous pulsatile GnRH i.v. for ovulation induction, and daily blood samples for gonadotropins and sex steroids were monitored. At the conventional GnRH replacement dose for women with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (75 ng/kg), no follicular development occurred. At a GnRH dose of 100 ng/kg, the level and pattern of gonadotropin secretion more closely mimicked the follicular phase of normal women; a single dominant follicle was recruited, and an endogenous LH surge was elicited. However, the luteal phase was inadequate, as assessed by progesterone levels. At a GnRH dose of 250 ng/kg, the gonadotropin and sex steroid dynamics reproduced those of normal ovulatory women in both the follicular and luteal phases, and the proband conceived. The FAS responses to both conventional and high dose GnRH were within the normal range. The following conclusions were made: 1) Increased doses of GnRH may be used effectively for ovulation induction in some patients with GnRH receptor mutations. 2) Higher doses of GnRH are required for normal luteal phase dynamics than for normal follicular phase function. 3) Hypersecretion of FAS in response to exogenous GnRH, which is a feature of congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, was not seen in this patient with a GnRH receptor mutation.