Steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency: genotype may not predict phenotype

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1995 Aug;80(8):2322-9. doi: 10.1210/jcem.80.8.7629224.


Steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency is the most frequent cause of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. We have determined the 21-hydroxylase genotype in 197 patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia owing to 21-hydroxylase deficiency and assessed phenotypic characteristics based on 1) genital status with respect to virilization in females, 2) ACTH stimulation tests to evaluate the secretion of androgens and 17-hydroxyprogesterone, and 3) salt deprivation tests to precisely describe the phenotype with respect to aldosterone deficiency and salt wasting. After dividing our patients into 26 21-hydroxylase gene mutation-identical groups, we found that, in general, the patient's phenotype matched the severity of the genotype. However, in 13 of these groups, the genotype did not always predict the phenotype, even within families. This study, has demonstrated that the 10 most common mutations observed in the 21-hydroxylase gene result in phenotypes that are not always concordant with the genotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / genetics*
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Aldosterone / deficiency
  • Alleles
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Regression Analysis
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase / genetics*
  • Virilism / genetics
  • Virilism / physiopathology


  • Aldosterone
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase