Genetics of Combined Pituitary Hormone Deficiency: Roadmap into the Genome Era

Endocr Rev. 2016 Dec;37(6):636-675. doi: 10.1210/er.2016-1101. Epub 2016 Nov 9.


The genetic basis for combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD) is complex, involving 30 genes in a variety of syndromic and nonsyndromic presentations. Molecular diagnosis of this disorder is valuable for predicting disease progression, avoiding unnecessary surgery, and family planning. We expect that the application of high throughput sequencing will uncover additional contributing genes and eventually become a valuable tool for molecular diagnosis. For example, in the last 3 years, six new genes have been implicated in CPHD using whole-exome sequencing. In this review, we present a historical perspective on gene discovery for CPHD and predict approaches that may facilitate future gene identification projects conducted by clinicians and basic scientists. Guidelines for systematic reporting of genetic variants and assigning causality are emerging. We apply these guidelines retrospectively to reports of the genetic basis of CPHD and summarize modes of inheritance and penetrance for each of the known genes. In recent years, there have been great improvements in databases of genetic information for diverse populations. Some issues remain that make molecular diagnosis challenging in some cases. These include the inherent genetic complexity of this disorder, technical challenges like uneven coverage, differing results from variant calling and interpretation pipelines, the number of tolerated genetic alterations, and imperfect methods for predicting pathogenicity. We discuss approaches for future research in the genetics of CPHD.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism / genetics*

Supplementary concepts

  • Combined Pituitary Hormone Deficiency