European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 151, Issue 11, pp 821–826 | Cite as

Molecular detection of genetic defects in congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency: A study of 27 families

  • D. Strumberg
  • B. P. Hauffa
  • B. Horsthemke
  • H. Grosse-Wilde
Medical Genetics


Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase (21-OHase) deficiency is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Patients can present with the salt wasting, simple virilizing or a non-classical form of the disease. The gene for P450C21, the enzyme carrying 21-OHase activity, has been mapped to the major histocompatibility complex on chromosome 6p. Using molecular hybridisation techniques we have studied the genetic defect in 27 families with one or more affected off-spring diagnosed and treated at the University Hospital of Essen. DNA samples were digested with restriction endonucleaseTaqI,PvuII,BglII, andEcoRI and analysed by Southern blot hybridisation with the cDNA probe pC21/3c. Eleven of 40 haplotypes associated with the salt wasting form were found to have a large deletion of 30 kb affecting the 5′ end of the active 21-OHase gene and the 3′ end of the closely linked pseudogene. Results in another 11 cases are compatible with gene conversion; 18 cases were not informative. The 30 kb deletion was associated with a combination of the HLA antigens Bw47 and DR7 in 7 of 11 cases. In the haplotypes with gene conversion, no linkage disequilibrium to HLA antigens was found. No apparent gene alterations were detected in simple virilizing and non-classical haplotypes. The direct detection of the genetic defect in 55% of the salt wasting haplotypes may help to improve predictive testing in families with CAH.

Key words

21-Hydroxylase deficiency Molecular genetics Restriction patterns Major histocompatibility complex class III genes 



congenital adrenal hyperplasia


major histocompatibility complex


non-classical forms






simple virilising form


salt wasting


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Strumberg
    • 1
  • B. P. Hauffa
    • 2
  • B. Horsthemke
    • 3
  • H. Grosse-Wilde
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für ImmunologieUniversitätsklinikum EssenEssen 1Germany
  2. 2.Klinik fÜr Kinder- und JugendmedizinUniversitätsklinikum EssenEssen 1Germany
  3. 3.Institut für HumangenetikUniversitätsklinikum EssenEssen 1Germany

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