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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

Huda M Elsharkasi, Suet C Chen, Lewis Steell, Shuko Joseph, Naiemh Abdalrahaman, Christie McComb, Blair Johnston, John Foster, Sze Choong Wong, and S Faisal Ahmed


The aim of this study is to investigate the role of 3T-MRI in assessing musculoskeletal health in children and young people.


Bone, muscle and bone marrow imaging was performed in 161 healthy participants with a median age of 15.0 years (range, 8.0, 30.0).


Detailed assessment of bone microarchitecture (constructive interference in the steady state (CISS) sequence, voxel size 0.2 × 0.2 × 0.4 mm3), bone geometry (T1-weighted turbo spin echo (TSE) sequence, voxel size 0.4 × 0.4 × 2 mm3) and bone marrow (1H-MRS, point resolved spectroscopy sequence (PRESS) (single voxel size 20 × 20 × 20 mm3) size and muscle adiposity (Dixon, voxel size 1.1 × 1.1 × 2 mm3).


There was an inverse association of apparent bone volume/total volume (appBV/TV) with age (r = −0.5, P < 0.0005). Cortical area, endosteal and periosteal circumferences and muscle cross-sectional area showed a positive association to age (r > 0.49, P < 0.0001). In those over 17 years of age, these parameters were also higher in males than females (P < 0.05). This sex difference was also evident for appBV/TV and bone marrow adiposity (BMA) in the older participants (P < 0.05). AppBV/TV showed a negative correlation with BMA (r = −0.22, P =  0.01) which also showed an association with muscle adiposity (r = 0.24, P = 0.04). Cortical geometric parameters were highly correlated with muscle area (r > 0.57, P < 0.01).


In addition to providing deep insight into the normal relationships between bone, fat and muscle in young people, these novel data emphasize the role of MRI as a non-invasive method for performing a comprehensive and integrated assessment of musculoskeletal health in the growing skeleton.