46,XY gonadal dysgenesis due to a homozygous mutation in desert hedgehog (DHH) identified by exome sequencing

Ralf Werner*, Hartmut Merz, Wiebke Birnbaum, Louise Marshall, Tatjana Schröder, Benedikt Reiz, Jennifer M. Kavran, Tobias Bäumer, Philipp Capetian, Olaf Hiort

*Corresponding author for this work
12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD) comprise a heterogeneous group of congenital conditions. Mutations in a variety of genes can affect gonadal development or androgen biosynthesis/action and thereby influence the development of the internal and external genital organs. Objective: The objective of the study was to identify the genetic cause in two 46,XY sisters of a consanguineous family with DSD and gonadal tumor formation. Methods: We used a next-generation sequencing approach by exome sequencing. Electrophysiological and high-resolution ultrasound examination of peripheral nerves as well as histopathological examination of the gonads were performed. Results: We identified a novel homozygous R124Q mutation in the desert hedgehog gene (DHH), which alters a conserved residue among the three mammalian Hedgehog ligands sonic hedgehog, Indian hedgehog, and desert hedgehog. No other relevant mutations in DSD-related genes were encountered.Thegonads ofonepatientshowedpartial gonadal dysgenesis with loss of Leydig cells in tubular areas withseminomain situandahyperplasia of Leydig cell-like cells expressingCYP17A1 in more dysgenetic parts of the gonad. In addition, both patients suffer from a polyneuropathy. High-resolution ultrasound revealed a structural change of peripheral nerve structure that fits well to a minifascicle formation of peripheral nerves. Conclusion: Mutations in DHH play a role in 46,XY gonadal dysgenesis and are associated with seminoma formation and a neuropathy with minifascicle formation. Gonadal dysgenesis in these casesmaybe due to impairment of Sertoli cell-Leydig cell interaction during gonadal development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)E1022-E1029
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2015


Dive into the research topics of '46,XY gonadal dysgenesis due to a homozygous mutation in desert hedgehog (DHH) identified by exome sequencing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this