Objective: 46,XY disorders of sex differentiation (46,XY DSD) can be due to a testis determination defect, an androgen biosynthesis defect, or androgen resistance (complete or partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS), or 5α reductase deficiency). We aimed to evaluate the impact of a prenatal contamination by environmental xenoestrogens in 'idiopathic' PAIS-like phenotype.
Subjects: We investigated 28 newborn/infant males with 46,XY DSD, normal androgen production, and no androgen receptor or steroid-5αR type II enzyme (SRD5A2) gene mutations.
Methods: To exclude other genetic defects, we sequenced the steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) and mastermind-like domain-containing 1 (MAMLD1) genes, which were recently found to be associated with the PAIS-like phenotype. Parents were interviewed about their environmental/occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) before/during the patients' fetal life. Total estrogenic bioactivity of patient serum was analyzed by ultrasensitive bioassay.
Results: All the patients had normal SF1 sequence and one patient showed a double polymorphism of MAMLD1. Eleven (39.3%) of the 28 patients had reported parental fetal exposure to EDCs. The mean estrogenic bioactivity in these 11 patients with fetal EDC exposure (6.65 ± 8.07 pg/ml) versus 17 cases without contamination (1.27 ± 0.34 pg/ml) and controls (1.06 ± 0.44 pg/ml; P<0.05) was elevated.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that the 'idiopathic' PAIS-like phenotype may in some cases be related to EDC contamination during fetal life.