Low-level X chromosome mosaicism in women with sporadic premature ovarian failure

Reprod Biomed Online. 2011 Apr;22(4):399-403. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Low-level X chromosome mosaicism and its clinical relevance are still under debate. It could be interpreted as a technical artefact, genuine mosaicism or as being age-related. This study evaluated the contribution of X chromosome mosaicism in phenotypically normal women with sporadic premature ovarian failure (POF). During 1999-2008, 114 patients with POF and 64 age matched controls were karyotyped. Thirteen patients (11.4%) had true X chromosome mosaicism (>10% of aneuploid cells) and 12 had (10.5%) low-level X-mosaicism (between 6-10% of aneuploid cells). The mean age of women with true and low-level mosaicism was 26.0 ± 5.65 years and 35.92 ± 3.87 years, respectively (P < 0.001). In the control group the incidence of cells with an abnormal number of X chromosomes was 1-3%. The results have practical implications for genetic counselling and fertility treatment. To search and confirm the low-level mosaicism, a higher number of metaphases should be analysed or additional fluorescence in-situ hybridization analysis must be performed. Although peripheral blood does not reflect the situation in ovarian tissue well, it is presumed that there are different aetiological causes for true and low-level X chromosome mosaicism. The possible causes and reproductive significance of low-level X chromosome mosaicism are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Mosaicism*
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / genetics*