Molecular Definition of Pseudohypoparathyroidism Variants

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 May 13;106(6):1541-1552. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab060.


Pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) and pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (PPHP) are caused by mutations and/or epigenetic changes at the complex GNAS locus on chromosome 20q13.3 that undergoes parent-specific methylation changes at several differentially methylated regions (DMRs). GNAS encodes the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein (Gsα) and several splice variants thereof. PHP type Ia (PHP1A) is caused by heterozygous inactivating mutations involving the maternal exons 1-13. Heterozygosity of these maternal GNAS mutations cause PTH-resistant hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia because paternal Gsα expression is suppressed in certain organs thus leading to little or no Gsα protein in the proximal renal tubules and other tissues. Besides biochemical abnormalities, PHP1A patients show developmental abnormalities, referred to as Albright's hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO). Some, but not all of these AHO features are encountered also in patients affected by PPHP, who carry paternal Gsα-specific mutations and typically show no laboratory abnormalities. Autosomal dominant PHP type Ib (AD-PHP1B) is caused by heterozygous maternal deletions within GNAS or STX16, which are associated with loss of methylation at the A/B DMR alone or at all maternally methylated GNAS exons. Loss of methylation of exon A/B and the resulting biallelic expression of A/B transcript reduces Gsα expression thus leading to hormonal resistance. Epigenetic changes at all differentially methylated GNAS regions are also observed in sporadic PHP1B, which is the most frequent PHP1B variant. However, this disease variant remains unresolved at the molecular level, except for rare cases with paternal uniparental isodisomy or heterodisomy of chromosome 20q (patUPD20q).

Keywords: GNAS; STX16; Gs-alpha; PTH; TSH; cAMP; calcium; epigenetics; parent-specific GNAS methylation; phosphate; pseudohypoparathyroidism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromogranins / genetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques
  • Pseudohypoparathyroidism / classification*
  • Pseudohypoparathyroidism / diagnosis
  • Pseudohypoparathyroidism / genetics*


  • Chromogranins
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs