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Am J Hum Genet. 1985 Jul;37(4):650-67.

High frequency of nonclassical steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency.

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Department of Pediatrics, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York 10021, USA.


Nonclassical steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder that is defined by clinical and hormonal criteria that distinguishes it from the classical 21-hydroxylase deficiency. No estimates of the gene frequency of nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency, also called attenuated, late-onset, acquired, and cryptic adrenal hyperplasia, have been published thus far. Here, we have used HLA-B genotype data in families containing multiple members affected with nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency together with the results of quantitative hormonal tests to arrive at estimates of gene and disease frequencies for this disorder. We found nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency to be a far more common disorder than classical 21-hydroxylase deficiency, which occurs in 1/8,000 births. The prevalence of the disease in Ashkenazi Jews was 3.7%; in Hispanics, 1.9%; in Yugoslavs, 1.6%; in Italians, 0.3%; and in the diverse Caucasian population, 0.1%. The gene for nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency is in genetic linkage disequilibrium with HLA-B14 in Ashkenazi Jews, Hispanics, and Italians, but not in Yugoslavs or in a diverse, non-Jewish, Caucasian group. The penetrance of nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency gene in the HLA-B14 containing haplotypes was incomplete. Thus, nonclassical 21-hydroxylase deficiency is probably the most frequent autosomal recessive genetic disorder in man and is especially frequent in Ashkenazi Jews, Hispanics, Italians, and Yugoslavs.

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