Context: Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is the most common chromosome disorder in men (47,XXY), exhibiting a phenotype with marked variation and increased morbidity. The pathophysiological link between the supernumerary X chromosome and the clinical phenotype remains unknown.
Objective: To elucidate whether differential gene expression patterns can be detected in KS patients and whether these are related to inherent clinical features.
Design, setting, participants: EXAKT (Epigenetics, X-chromosomal Features and Clinical Applications in Klinefelter Syndrome Trial) is a Münster-based prospective project involving 132 Klinefelter men and their parents. A range of cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic factors, in comparison to age-matched male (n = 50)/female controls (n = 50) and in relation to genetic features, is assessed.
Main outcomes and measures: Our predefined hypothesis was that differential gene expression patterns in blood cells exist in KS patients vs male controls and are related to the clinical phenotype.
Results: Differential expression of 36 X-chromosomal and autosomal genes put KS patients into a unique genetic setting vs male and female controls. The KS cohort exhibited increased insulin resistance, enhanced inflammatory and procoagulatory status, higher waist circumference, dyslipidemia, and a markedly shorter 12-lead electrocardiogram QTc interval (partly located within the pathological range) vs male controls (all P < .001). Clinical dyshomeostasis was associated with expression patterns of dysregulated genes (all P < .01). Parental origin of the supernumerary X chromosome was a confounder regarding insulin resistance and cardiac phenotype (P < .05). Results are considered preliminary because gene expression was measured in blood cells.
Conclusions: The supernumerary X chromosome contributes to a number of pathologies in KS. The pattern of gene expression is altered in KS, and the degree of differential gene expression is associated with the clinical phenotype.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01703676.