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Minerva Endocrinologica 2013 March;38(1):113-22


language: English

The 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3 deficiency: a case report of an 18-year patient and review of the literature

Galdiero M. 1, Vitale P. 1, Simeoli C. 1, Afeltra L. 2, Melis D. 3, Alviggi C. 4, Cariati F. 1, Lo Calzo F. 1, Di Somma C. 1, Colao A. 1, Pivonello R. 1

1 Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology, “Federico II” University, Naples, Italy; 2 Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnologies, “Federico II” University, Naples, Italy; 3 Department of Pediatrics, “Federico II” University, Naples, Italy; 4 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, “Federico II” University, Naples, Italy


Deficiency of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3 (17βHSD3), an enzyme converting androstenedione (A) to testosterone (T), is a rare cause of autosomal recessive 46,XY disorder of sexual development (DSD). A 18-years phenotypically female patient from southern Italy presented with primary amenorrhea. She had deep voice, macrocephaly, enlarged and bulbous nasal tip, macrostomia, facial acne, breast asymmetry, hypoplasia of the first finger of right hand, proximal implant of the fifth metatarsus bilaterally as well as an increased muscle mass and hirsutism, with hair distribution on face, neck, chest, abdomen, pubic region and on upper and lower limbs. Genital exam showed thickened labra majora with absence of labra minora and a blind-ending pseudo-vagina with clitoris enlargement. Karyotype analysis showed a male genotype (46,XY). Hormonal evaluation showed decreased T (188 ng/dL-6.5 nmol/L) and increased A (10 ng/mL-34,96 nmol/L), considering male reference ranges, resulting in a decreased T/A ratio (0,186). MRI identified testicles in inguinal regions. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin test showed T/A ratio permanently under 0,8. These evidences were suggestive of a 46,XY DSD due to 17βHSD3 deficiency. An homozygous mutation (IVS3 -1 G>C or c.326–1G>C) of the 17βHSD3 gene was discovered. Psychologist identified a well determined female gender identity. It was decided to proceed with gonadectomy and vaginal enlargement by use of dilatators.
Conclusion: The case described represents a new case of DSD due to 17βHSD3 deficiency. This patient, raised as a girl, is diagnosed in a very late stage. The identified mutation, previously reported only in Dutch and Brazilian population, is one of 27 presently known mutations of 17βHSD3 gene and is never reported in Italian population.

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