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The clinical significance of aldosterone synthase deficiency: report of a novel mutation in the CYP11B2 gene

Elaine Hui1, Matthew CW Yeung2, Pik To Cheung3, Elaine Kwan3, Louis Low3, Kathryn CB Tan1, Karen SL Lam1 and Angel OK Chan2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

2 Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

3 Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2014, 14:29  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-29

Published: 3 April 2014



Aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder, usually presenting with severe salt-wasting in infancy or stress-induced hyperkalaemia and postural hypotension in adulthood. Neonatal screening for congenital adrenal hyperplasia, another cause of salt wasting, using 17-hydroxyprogesterone measurement would fail to detect aldosterone synthase deficiency, a diagnosis which may be missed until the patient presents with salt-wasting crisis. Due to this potential life-threatening risk, comprehensive hormonal investigation followed by genetic confirmation for suspected patients would facilitate clinical management of the patient and assessment of the genetic implication in their offspring.

Case presentation

We describe a 33-year old Chinese man who presented in infancy with life-threatening hyponatraemia and failure to thrive, but remained asymptomatic on fludrocortisone since. Chromosomal analysis confirmed a normal male karyotype of 46, XY. Plasma steroid profile showed high plasma renin activity, low aldosterone level, and elevated 18-hydroxycorticosterone, compatible with type 2 aldosterone synthase deficiency. The patient was heterozygous for a novel CYP11B2 mutation: c.977C > A (p.Thr326Lys) in exon 3. He also carried a heterozygous mutation c.523_525delAAG (p.Lys175del) in exon 6, a known pathogenic mutation causing aldosterone synthase deficiency. Sequencing of CYP11B2 in his parents demonstrated that the mother was heterozygous for c.977C > A, and the father was heterozygous for c.523_525delAAG.


Although a rare cause of hyperreninaemic hypoaldosteronism, aldosterone synthase deficiency should be suspected and the diagnosis sought in patients who present with life-threatening salt-wasting in infancy, as it has a good long-term prognosis when adequate fludrocortisone replacement is instituted. To our knowledge, this is the first Chinese patient in which the molecular basis of aldosterone synthase deficiency has been identified.

Aldosterone synthase deficiency; Salt-wasting; Hypoaldosteronism