Heterozygous defects in PAX6 gene and congenital hypopituitarism

Masaki Takagi, Keisuke Nagasaki, Ikuma Fujiwara, Tomohiro Ishii, Naoko Amano, Yumi Asakura, Koji Muroya, Yukihiro Hasegawa, Masanori Adachi, Tomonobu Hasegawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The prevalence of congenital hypopituitarism (CH) attributable to known transcription factor mutations appears to be rare and other causative genes for CH remain to be identified. Due to the sporadic occurrence of CH, de novo chromosomal rearrangements could be one of the molecular mechanisms participating in its etiology, especially in syndromic cases.

Objective: To identify the role of copy number variations (CNVs) in the etiology of CH and to identify novel genes implicated in CH.

Subjects and methods: We enrolled 88 (syndromic: 30; non-syndromic: 58) Japanese CH patients. We performed an array comparative genomic hybridization screening in the 30 syndromic CH patients. For all the 88 patients, we analyzed PAX6 by PCR-based sequencing.

Results: We identified one heterozygous 310-kb deletion of the PAX6 enhancer region in one patient showing isolated GH deficiency (IGHD), cleft palate, and optic disc cupping. We also identified one heterozygous 6.5-Mb deletion encompassing OTX2 in a patient with bilateral anophthalmia and multiple pituitary hormone deficiency. We identified a novel PAX6 mutation, namely p.N116S in one non-syndromic CH patient showing IGHD. The p.N116S PAX6 was associated with an impairment of the transactivation capacities of the PAX6-binding elements.

Conclusions: This study showed that heterozygous PAX6 mutations are associated with CH patients. PAX6 mutations may be associated with diverse clinical features ranging from severely impaired ocular and pituitary development to apparently normal phenotype. Overall, this study identified causative CNVs with a possible role in the etiology of CH in <10% of syndromic CH patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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