Open Access Open Badges Research article

Ethnic disparity in 21-hydroxylase gene mutations identified in Pakistani congenital adrenal hyperplasia patients

Aysha H Khan1, Muniba Aban1, Jamal Raza2, Naeem ul Haq3, Abdul Jabbar3 and Tariq Moatter1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Department of Pediatrics, Aga Khan University and National Institute of Child Health, Rafique Shaheed Road, Karachi, Pakistan

3 Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2011, 11:5  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-11-5

Published: 18 February 2011



Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of autosomal recessive disorders caused by defects in the steroid 21 hydroxylase gene (CYP21A2). We studied the spectrum of mutations in CYP21A2 gene in a multi-ethnic population in Pakistan to explore the genetics of CAH.


A cross sectional study was conducted for the identification of mutations CYP21A2 and their phenotypic associations in CAH using ARMS-PCR assay.


Overall, 29 patients were analyzed for nine different mutations. The group consisted of two major forms of CAH including 17 salt wasters and 12 simple virilizers. There were 14 phenotypic males and 15 females representing all the major ethnic groups of Pakistan. Parental consanguinity was reported in 65% cases and was equally distributed in the major ethnic groups. Among 58 chromosomes analyzed, mutations were identified in 45 (78.6%) chromosomes. The most frequent mutation was I2 splice (27%) followed by Ile173Asn (26%), Arg 357 Trp (19%), Gln319stop, 16% and Leu308InsT (12%), whereas Val282Leu was not observed in this study. Homozygosity was seen in 44% and heterozygosity in 34% cases. I2 splice mutation was found to be associated with SW in the homozygous. The Ile173Asn mutation was identified in both SW and SV forms. Moreover, Arg357Trp manifested SW in compound heterozygous state.


Our study showed that CAH exists in our population with ethnic difference in the prevalence of mutations examined.