Tenascin-X, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and the CAH-X Syndrome

Horm Res Paediatr. 2018;89(5):352-361. doi: 10.1159/000481911. Epub 2018 May 7.


Mutations of the CYP21A2 gene encoding adrenal 21-hydroxylase cause congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). The CYP21A2 gene is partially overlapped by the TNXB gene, which encodes an extracellular matrix protein called Tenascin-X (TNX). Mutations affecting both alleles of TNXB cause a severe, autosomal recessive form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Rarely, patients with severe, salt-wasting CAH have deletions of CYP21A2 that extend into TNXB, resulting in a "contiguous gene syndrome" consisting of CAH and EDS. Heterozygosity for TNXB mutations causing haploinsufficiency of TNX may be associated with the mild "hypermobility form" of EDS, which principally affects small and large joints. Studies of patients with salt-wasting CAH found that up to 10% had clinical features of EDS, associated joint hypermobility, haploinsufficiency of TNX and heterozygosity for TNXB mutations, now called "CAH-X." These patients have joint hypermobility and a spectrum of other comorbidities associated with their connective tissue disorder, including chronic arthralgia, joint subluxations, hernias, and cardiac defects. Other disorders are beginning to be associated with TNX deficiency, including familial vesicoureteral reflux and neurologic disorders. Further work is needed to delineate the full spectrum of TNX-deficient disorders, with and without associated CAH.

Keywords: CAH-X syndrome; Congenital adrenal hyperplasia; Tenascin-X.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / genetics*
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / metabolism
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / pathology
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / genetics*
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / metabolism
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / pathology
  • Haploinsufficiency*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase / genetics*
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • Syndrome
  • Tenascin / genetics*
  • Tenascin / metabolism


  • Tenascin
  • tenascin X
  • CYP21A2 protein, human
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase