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  • Author: Nelly Pitteloud x
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Open access

Shota Dzemaili, Jitske Tiemensma, Richard Quinton, Nelly Pitteloud, Diane Morin and Andrew A Dwyer

Objective

Little is known about how women with isolated GnRH deficiency cope with their condition. This study aimed to examine the health and informational needs of women with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) and evaluate if their experiences differ from women with more common forms of infertility.

Design

Cross-sectional, multiple methods study using web-based data collection to reach dispersed rare disease patients.

Methods

A community-based participatory research framework was employed to develop an online survey and collect quantitative and qualitative data. Adult women diagnosed with CHH who had received at least one year of hormonal treatment completed the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale, Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire and Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. Information on health care experiences, treatment outcomes and patient-reported challenges were also collected.

Results

Women (n = 55) were often diagnosed late (20.7 ± 7.4, range: 10–48 years) and 16/20 patients receiving fertility treatment conceived. Poor adherence was frequently observed (34/55) while more than half (27/49) reported a gap in treatment exceeding a year. Low adherence correlated with depressive symptoms (r = 0.3, P > 0.05). Negative illness perceptions were pervasive and 30/55 exhibited some depressive symptoms – significantly greater than women with common female factor infertility (P < 0.01). Symptoms were underappreciated by providers as only 15 of 55 patients had discussions about psychological services. Women identified isolation, need for information and finding expert care as challenges to living with CHH.

Conclusions

Despite being a treatable form of female infertility, the presumable availability of treatment does not necessarily ensure adequate quality of life for women with isolated GnRH deficiency.

Open access

Zofia Kolesinska, James Acierno Jr, S Faisal Ahmed, Cheng Xu, Karina Kapczuk, Anna Skorczyk-Werner, Hanna Mikos, Aleksandra Rojek, Andreas Massouras, Maciej R Krawczynski, Nelly Pitteloud and Marek Niedziela

46,XY differences and/or disorders of sex development (DSD) are clinically and genetically heterogeneous conditions. Although complete androgen insensitivity syndrome has a strong genotype–phenotype correlation, the other types of 46,XY DSD are less well defined, and thus, the precise diagnosis is challenging. This study focused on comparing the relationship between clinical assessment and genetic findings in a cohort of well-phenotyped patients with 46,XY DSD. The study was an analysis of clinical investigations followed by genetic testing performed on 35 patients presenting to a single center. The clinical assessment included external masculinization score (EMS), endocrine profiling and radiological evaluation. Array-comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) and sequencing of DSD-related genes were performed. Using an integrated approach, reaching the definitive diagnosis was possible in 12 children. The correlation between clinical and genetic findings was higher in patients with a more severe phenotype (median EMS 2.5 vs 6; P = 0.04). However, in 13 children, at least one variant of uncertain significance was identified, and most times this variant did not correspond to the original clinical diagnosis. In three patients, the genetic studies guided further clinical assessment which resulted in a reclassification of initial clinical diagnosis. Furthermore, we identified eight patients harboring variants in more than one DSD genes, which was not seen in controls (2.5%; P = 0.0003). In summary, taking into account potential challenges in reaching the definitive diagnosis in 46,XY DSD, only integrated approach seems to be the best routine practice.

Open access

Fernanda A Correa, Ericka B Trarbach, Cintia Tusset, Ana Claudia Latronico, Luciana R Montenegro, Luciani R Carvalho, Marcela M Franca, Aline P Otto, Everlayny F Costalonga, Vinicius N Brito, Ana Paula Abreu, Mirian Y Nishi, Alexander A L Jorge, Ivo J P Arnhold, Yisrael Sidis, Nelly Pitteloud and Berenice B Mendonca

The genetic aetiology of congenital hypopituitarism (CH) is not entirely elucidated. FGFR1 and PROKR2 loss-of-function mutations are classically involved in hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (HH), however, due to the clinical and genetic overlap of HH and CH; these genes may also be involved in the pathogenesis of CH. Using a candidate gene approach, we screened 156 Brazilian patients with combined pituitary hormone deficiencies (CPHD) for loss-of-function mutations in FGFR1 and PROKR2. We identified three FGFR1 variants (p.Arg448Trp, p.Ser107Leu and p.Pro772Ser) in four unrelated patients (two males) and two PROKR2 variants (p.Arg85Cys and p.Arg248Glu) in two unrelated female patients. Five of the six patients harbouring the variants had a first-degree relative that was an unaffected carrier of it. Results of functional studies indicated that the new FGFR1 variant p.Arg448Trp is a loss-of-function variant, while p.Ser107Leu and p.Pro772Ser present signalling activity similar to the wild-type form. Regarding PROKR2 variants, results from previous functional studies indicated that p.Arg85Cys moderately compromises receptor signalling through both MAPK and Ca2 + pathways while p.Arg248Glu decreases calcium mobilization but has normal MAPK activity. The presence of loss-of-function variants of FGFR1 and PROKR2 in our patients with CPHD is indicative of an adjuvant and/or modifier effect of these rare variants on the phenotype. The presence of the same variants in unaffected relatives implies that they cannot solely cause the phenotype. Other associated genetic and/or environmental modifiers may play a role in the aetiology of this condition.