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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 May;97(5):E771-4. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-2414. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

An atypical case of familial glucocorticoid deficiency without pigmentation caused by coexistent homozygous mutations in MC2R (T152K) and MC1R (R160W).

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  • 1Marmara University, Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, 34899 Istanbul, Turkey.



Familial glucocorticoid deficiency (FGD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by isolated cortisol deficiency. Mutations in the gene encoding the ACTH receptor (MC2R) account for 25% of cases. One significant feature is generalized skin hyperpigmentation, which is thought to be due to elevated ACTH acting on the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R).


The aim of the study was to determine the cause of a nonhyperpigmented case of FGD.


The patient presented at 4 yr of age with hypoglycemia after prolonged fasting during a respiratory tract infection. She had further hypoglycemic attacks and was diagnosed with isolated glucocorticoid deficiency at 6 yr of age. Her parents were consanguineous, and she had two unaffected sisters. Her physical examination was normal, except that her height and weight were greater than the 97th centile for a sex- and age-matched reference population. Interestingly, she had no hyperpigmentation despite very high ACTH levels.


Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed homozygous mutations c.478C>T in MC1R and c.455C>A in MC2R leading to R160W and T152K changes in the amino acid sequences, respectively. The R160W MC1R change has previously been implicated in a red hair/pale skin phenotype, and MC2R -T152K is trafficking defective. Both parents and two unaffected sisters were heterozygous for the MC1R mutation; additionally, one unaffected sister was heterozygous for the MC2R mutation, and the other was wild-type.


We report an unusual case of FGD without hyperpigmentation due to coexistent MC1R/MC2R mutations. This case is important because it demonstrates for the first time that the assumption that the action of ACTH on MC1R causes skin hyperpigmentation is correct.

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