Structural analysis of the thyrotropin receptor in four patients with congenital hypothyroidism due to thyroid hypoplasia

Nogueira C., Nguyen L., Coelho-Neto J., Arseven O., Jameson J., Kopp P., ...More

THYROID, vol.9, no.6, pp.523-529, 1999 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Doi Number: 10.1089/thy.1999.9.523
  • Journal Name: THYROID
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.523-529
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


Sporadic congenital hypothyroidism is most commonly caused by developmental abnormalities of the thyroid gland. More rarely, it is due to defects in gene products involved in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis or thyroid hormone synthesis. Loss of function mutations in the thyrotropin (TSH) receptor have been shown to result in resistance to biologically active TSH. In complete resistance to TSH, the thyroid gland is hypoplastic and unable to synthesize and secrete sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. In partial resistance, referred to as euthyroid hyperthyrotropinemia, the size of the gland and the thyroid hormone levels are normal at the expense of an elevated TSH. Four patients with sporadic congenital hypothyroidism and properly located hypoplastic thyroid glands were included in this study. Serum TSH concentrations were 150 mU/L or higher, serum thyroglobulin levels were within normal limits (6.1 to 8.2 ng/mL; normal range: 2.1 to 32 ng/mL), and thyroid autoantibodies were absent. The coding region of the TSH beta subunit gene, the TSH receptor gene, and exons 8 and 9 of G(s alpha) were analyzed by direct sequencing and found to be normal in all patients. One patient was heterozygous for a G to A transition in the TSH beta gene resulting in a substitution of alanine by threonine at position -7 of the signal peptide. This substitution was also found in her euthyroid father. In addition, Southern analysis of the TSH receptor gene excluded major structural alterations. These findings support previous reports that indicate that TSH resistance is genetically heterogeneous. In addition to mutations in the TSH receptor or the G(s alpha) genes, other genetic defects can lead to an identical phenotype. These observations also suggest that TSH receptor mutations might be a relatively rare cause of congenital thyroid hypoplasia.