Early onset obesity and adrenal insufficiency associated with a homozygous POMC mutation

Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. 2011;2011(1):5. doi: 10.1186/1687-9856-2011-5. Epub 2011 Jul 6.


Isolated hypocortisolism due to ACTH deficiency is a rare condition that can be caused by homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding proopiomelanocortin (POMC). Loss of function mutations of POMC gene typically results in adrenal insufficiency, obesity and red hair. We describe an 18 month old Hispanic female with congenital adrenal insufficiency, a novel POMC mutation and atypical clinical features. The patient presented at the age of 9 months with hypoglycemia and the endocrine evaluation resulted in a diagnosis of ACTH deficiency. She developed extreme weight gain prompting sequence analysis of POMC, which revealed a homozygous c.231C > A change which is predicted to result in a premature termination codon. The case we report had obesity, hypocortisolism but lacked red hair which is typical for subjects with POMC mutations. Mutations of POMC should be considered in individuals with severe early onset obesity and adrenal insufficiency even when they lack the typical pigmentary phenotype.