Height and bone mineral density in androgen insensitivity syndrome with mutations in the androgen receptor gene


Introduction and hypothesis

Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) constitutes a natural model to study effects of androgens and estrogens on growth and bone density. We evaluated height and bone density in patients with AIS with mutations in the androgen receptor (AR) gene.


A retrospective analysis was conducted of eight subjects with complete AIS (CAIS) and four with partial AIS (PAIS) submitted to gonadectomy followed by estrogen replacement, and three with PAIS who did not undergo gonadectomy. Standing height and bone mineral apparent density (BMAD) by DXA were measured and compared with male (z m) and female (z f) reference populations. The z-scores were compared with a value of zero using the one-sample t-test.


Final heights of patients with CAIS and PAIS were intermediate between those predicted for females and males. BMAD of the lumbar spine in CAIS and PAIS after gonadectomy and estrogen replacement (z f = − 1.56 ± 1.04, P = 0.006, and z m = − 0.75 ± 0.89, P = 0.04) indicated vertebral bone deficit, whereas BMAD at the femoral neck was normal. No patient reported fractures.


Subjects with AIS had mean final height intermediate between mean normal male and female, and decreased bone mineral density in the lumbar spine. These data suggest an important role for androgens in normal male growth and bone density not replaced by estrogens.

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Correspondence to D. L. S. Danilovic.

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Danilovic, D.L.S., Correa, P.H.S., Costa, E.M.F. et al. Height and bone mineral density in androgen insensitivity syndrome with mutations in the androgen receptor gene. Osteoporos Int 18, 369–374 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-006-0243-6

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  • Androgen insensitivity syndrome
  • Bone mineral density
  • Height
  • Mutations in androgen receptor gene