Context: Congenital isolated ACTH deficiency (IAD) is a rare disease characterized by low plasma ACTH and cortisol levels and preservation of all other pituitary hormones. This condition was poorly defined before we identified TPIT, a T-box transcription factor with a specific role in differentiation of the corticotroph lineage in mice and humans, as its principal molecular cause.
Objective: We have enlarged our series of IAD patients to better characterize the phenotype and the genotype of this rare disease.
Design: Each exon of the TPIT gene was amplified and sequenced in IAD patients without any identified cause. A functional analysis of each new TPIT mutation was performed.
Results: We described the largest series of 91 IAD patients and identified three distinct groups: neonatal onset complete or partial IAD or late onset IAD. We did not identify any TPIT mutation in patients with partial or late-onset IAD. However, we found a TPIT mutation in 65% of patients with neonatal-onset complete IAD. These patients are homozygous or compound heterozygous for TPIT mutations, and their parents are healthy heterozygous carriers. We identified nine new mutations: four missense, one one-nucleotide deletion, three splice-site mutations, and one large deletion. TPIT mutations lead to loss of function by different mechanisms, such as non-sense-mediated mRNA decay, abnormal mRNA splicing, loss of TPIT DNA binding or protein-protein interaction defects.
Conclusion: TPIT mutations are responsible for two thirds of neonatal-onset complete IAD but can not be detected in partial or late-onset IAD.