The conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone is catalyzed by the 5α-reductase type 2 enzyme which plays a crucial role in the external genitalia virilization. It is encoded by the SRD5A2 gene. Allelic variants in this gene cause a 46,XY DSD with no genotype-phenotype relationship. It was firstly reported in the early 70s from isolated clusters. Since then, several cases have been reported. Putting together, it will expand the knowledge on the molecular bases of androgen milieu.
We searched for SRD5A2 allelic variants (AV) in the literature (PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE) and websites (ensembl, HGMD, ClinVar). Only cases with AV in both alleles, either in homozygous or compound heterozygous were included. The included cases were analyzed according to ethnicity, exon, domain, aminoacid (aa) conservation, age at diagnosis, sex assignment, gender reassignment, external genitalia virilization and functional studies. External genitalia virilization was scored using Sinnecker scale. Conservation analysis was carried out using the CONSURF platform. For categorical variables, we used X2 test and Cramer's V. Continuous variables were analyzed by t test or ANOVA. Concordance was estimated by Kappa.
We identified 434 cases of 5ARD2 deficiencies from 44 countries. Most came from Turkey (23%), China (17%), Italy (9%), and Brazil (7%). Sixty-nine percent were assigned as female. There were 70% of homozygous allelic variants and 30% compound heterozygous. Most were missense variants (76%). However, small indels (11%), splicing (5%) and large deletions (4%) were all reported. They were distributed along with all exons with exon 1 (33%) and exon 4 (25%) predominance. Allelic variants in the exon 4 (NADPH-binding domain) resulted in lower virilization (p<0.0001). The codons 55, 65, 196, 235 and 246 are hotspots making up 25% of all allelic variants. Most of them (76%) were located at conserved aa. However, allelic variants at non-conserved aa were more frequently indels (28% vs 6%; p<0.01). The overall rate of gender change from female to male ranged from 16% to 70%. The lowest rate of gender change from female to male occurred in Turkey and the highest in Brazil. External genitalia virilization was similar between those who changed and those who kept their assigned gender. The gender change rate was significantly different across the countries (V=0.44; p<0.001) even with similar virilization scores.
5ARD2 deficiency has a worldwide distribution. Allelic variants at the NADPH-ligand region cause lower virilization. Genitalia virilization influenced sex assignment but not gender change which was influenced by cultural aspects across the countries. Molecular diagnosis influenced on sex assignment, favoring male sex assignment in newborns with 5α-reductase type 2 deficiency.
The application of clinical genetics. 2020 Apr 14*** epublish ***
Rafael Loch Batista, Berenice Bilharinho Mendonca
Unidade de Endocrinologia do Desenvolvimento, Laboratório de Hormônios e Genética Molecular/LIM42, Hospital das Clínicas, Disciplina de Endocrinologia, do Departamento de Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.