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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2006 Jul;65(1):92-7.

Genetic features of the X chromosome affect pubertal development and testicular degeneration in adolescent boys with Klinefelter syndrome.

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1
Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Central Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. anne.wikstrom@fimnet.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate how genetic features of the X chromosome influence growth, pubertal development and testicular degeneration in adolescent boys with Klinefelter syndrome (KS). Previous studies have suggested that genetic features of the X chromosome may contribute to the wide phenotypic variation in KS.

DESIGN:

A prospective clinical study.

PATIENTS:

Fourteen nonmosaic 47,XXY boys, aged 10-13.9 years.

MEASUREMENTS:

The relationship of genetic features of the X chromosome, including parental origin of X chromosomes, the CAG repeat length of the androgen receptor (AR) gene, and X inactivation with progression of pubertal development, growth and testicular function in KS boys.

RESULTS:

Paternal (47,XmXpY, n = 3) as compared to maternal (47,XmXmY, n = 11) origin of the supernumerary X chromosome was associated with a later onset of puberty. In 47,XmXpY patients, serum LH concentrations increased above 1.0 IU/l at 12.5 +/- 0.6 years (mean +/- SD), Tanner stage P2 occurred at 12.5 +/- 0.7 years, and pubertal acceleration of growth was noted at 13.9 +/- 1.4 years and peak velocity at 14.5 +/- 0.8 years. All of these occurred 1.3-1.9 years later than in 47,XmXmY patients (P = 0.01-0.09). In 47,XmXmY subjects, CAG repeat length (range 17-26) correlated with age at which serum LH level first exceeded 1.0 IU/l (rs = 0.63, P = 0.06, n = 10) and testosterone 1.0 nmol/l (28.8 ng/dl) (rs = 0.78, P = 0.02, n = 10).

CONCLUSIONS:

Paternal origin of the supernumerary X chromosome is associated with later onset of puberty and longer CAG repeats of the AR with later pubertal reactivation of the pituitary-testicular axis in KS boys. Identifying genetic factors that affect the phenotype may lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of KS.

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