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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1980 Dec;51(6):1316-24.

Cryptic 21-hydroxylase deficiency in families of patients with classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia.


Serum androgens and 17-hydroxyprogesterone concentrations and HLA genotypes were determined in 124 families of patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency (CAH). In 8 pedigrees, we discovered 16 pubertal or postpubertal family members of either sex who had biochemical evidence of 21-hydroxylase deficiency but were without clinical symptoms of excess virilism, amenorrhea, or infertility. We designated these family members as individuals with cryptic 21-hydroxylase deficiency. Within each generation, the family members with cryptic 21-hydroxylase deficiency were HLA identical. It is proposed that these family members are genetic compounds, having 21-hydroxylase deficiency as a result of two recessive gene defects: 1) a severe 21-hydroxylase gene defect present in the index case with classical CAH (21-OHCAH) and 2) a mild 21-hydroxylase gene defect (21-OHCRYPTIC). Thus, the CAH genotype in the family members with cryptic 21-hydroxylase deficiency is 21-OHCAH/21-OHCRYPTIC. Lod score analysis for linkage between the cryptogenic 21-OH trait and HLA gave a combined Lod score for males and females of theta = 0.00 of 3.409. Close genetic linkage between HLA and 21-OHCRYPTIC was thus established. This study provides support for the previously reported heterogeneity of 21-hydroxylase deficiency which may result from allelic variability at the locus for steroid 21-hydroxylase.

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