Clinical and molecular spectrum of somatic mosaicism in androgen insensitivity syndrome

Paul Martin Holterhus*, Jens Wiebel, Gernot H.G. Sinnecker, Hennie T. Brüggenwirth, Wolfgang G. Sippell, Albert O. Brinkmann, Klaus Kruse, Olaf Hiort

*Corresponding author for this work
41 Citations (Scopus)


We recently found that postzygotic de novo mutations occur at the expected high rate of an X-linked recessive mutation in androgen insensitivity syndrome. The resulting somatic mosaicism can be an important molecular determinant of in vivo androgen action caused by expression of the wild-type androgen receptor (AR). However, the clinical relevance of this previously underestimated genetic condition in androgen insensitivity syndrome has not been investigated in detail as yet. Here, we present the clinical and molecular spectrum of somatic mosaicism considering all five patients with mosaic androgen insensitivity syndrome, whom we have identified since 1993: Patient 1 (predominantly female, clitoromegaly), 172 TTA(Leu)/TGA(Stop); patient 2 (ambiguous), 596 GCC(Ala)/ACC(Thr); patient 3 (ambiguous), 733 CAG(Gln)/CAT(His); patient 4 (completely female), 774 CGC(Arg)/TGC (Cys); and patient 5 (ambiguous), 866 GTG(Val)/ATG(Met). Serum sex hormone binding globulin response to stanozolol, usually correlating well with in vivo AR function, was inconclusive for assessment of the phenotypes in all tested mosaic individuals. An unexpectedly strong virilization occurred in patients 1, 3, and 5 compared with phenotypes as published with corresponding inherited mutations and compared with the markedly impaired transactivation caused by the mutant ARs in cotransfection experiments. Only the prepubertal virilization of patients 2 and 4 matched appropriately with transactivation studies (patient 4) or the literature (patients 2 and 4). However, partial pubertal virilization in patient 4 caused by increasing serum androgens and subsequent activation of the wild-type AR could not be excluded. We conclude that somatic mosaicism is of particular clinical relevance in androgen insensitivity syndrome. The possibility of functionally relevant expression of the wild-type AR needs to be considered in all mosaic individuals, and treatment should be adjusted accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)684-690
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 12.1999

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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