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Marrocco G.,Hospital San Camillo Forlanini | Grammatico P.,UOC Laboratory of Medical Genetics | Vallasciani S.,IRCCS Ca Granda Hospital | Gulia C.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Pediatric Urology | Year: 2015

SummaryObjective Hypospadias is a congenital defect, which affects normal development of the male urogenital external tract. In this malformation, the urethral orifice of the penis is positioned ventrally, thus interfering with normal urination and creating, in some adults, problems during sexual intercourse. Heritability of hypospadias has been shown in some reports, and the abnormality has been associated with the presence of mutations in one of the genes involved in urogenital development. However, even for patients who were born in families with a higher incidence rate of this defect, no evident genetic alteration could be identified in known genes, indicating that the list of loci involved is still incomplete. To further complicate matters, recent reports also underline that epigenetic changes, without any identifiable gene sequence mutation, may be involved in gene function impairment. Therefore, the inheritance of most hypospadias cases is not evident, suggesting that the genetic background is not the only cause of this malformation; indeed, the majority of hypospadias cases are classified as sporadic and idiopathic. Materials and methods Evidence has accumulated highlighting the role of the environment and of its relationships with the genome in the etiology of this abnormality. In particular, the interaction between some chemicals, which are able to mimic endogenous molecules such as sexual hormones - for this reason called endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) - and specific receptors has been extensively investigated during the pregnancy. Additionally, several articles have shown that parental and gestational factors play a significant role too. Indeed, physiological alterations, such as body weight of the mother and/or of the newborn, mother's diabetes, impaired father fertility, and exposure of one parent to job-related pollutants, show in many cases a direct correlation with hypospadias incidence. The overall prevalence of this condition has been studied in many countries, suggesting that at least in some periods and/or in specific populations there are detectable fluctuations, probably mirroring the different natural environments. However, many articles present data that do not agree with these findings and, consequently, most causes of hypospadias are still highly debated. Results In this review, we summarize the developmental steps involved in urogenital tract formation, with a particular emphasis on the genes that most frequently are associated with this condition, or that are subject to environmental stress, or that may be the targets of hormone-like, exogenous molecules. Then, we make an overview of the identified factors able to impair the function of important genes, even in the absence of their mutations, including those for which contradictory reports have been published. Finally, we propose an explanation of sporadic cases of hypospadias that reconciles these contradictions and suggest some steps for moving forward in the research focused on this condition. Conclusion We hypothesize that most patients develop hypospadias because of gene-environment interactions acting on polymorphic genes that, in the absence of environmental stimuli, would otherwise cause no developmental anomaly during urogenital development. Three cases of boys affected by hypospadias; the arrows indicate the position of the urethral meatus in the distal (A), midshaft (B) and proximal (C) positions. © 2015 Journal of Pediatric Urology Company. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


PubMed | UOC Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Sick Kids Hospital, IRCCS Ca Granda Hospital, Hospital San Camillo Forlanini and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of pediatric urology | Year: 2015

Hypospadias is a congenital defect, which affects normal development of the male urogenital external tract. In this malformation, the urethral orifice of the penis is positioned ventrally, thus interfering with normal urination and creating, in some adults, problems during sexual intercourse. Heritability of hypospadias has been shown in some reports, and the abnormality has been associated with the presence of mutations in one of the genes involved in urogenital development. However, even for patients who were born in families with a higher incidence rate of this defect, no evident genetic alteration could be identified in known genes, indicating that the list of loci involved is still incomplete. To further complicate matters, recent reports also underline that epigenetic changes, without any identifiable gene sequence mutation, may be involved in gene function impairment. Therefore, the inheritance of most hypospadias cases is not evident, suggesting that the genetic background is not the only cause of this malformation; indeed, the majority of hypospadias cases are classified as sporadic and idiopathic.Evidence has accumulated highlighting the role of the environment and of its relationships with the genome in the etiology of this abnormality. In particular, the interaction between some chemicals, which are able to mimic endogenous molecules such as sexual hormones--for this reason called endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC)--and specific receptors has been extensively investigated during the pregnancy. Additionally, several articles have shown that parental and gestational factors play a significant role too. Indeed, physiological alterations, such as body weight of the mother and/or of the newborn, mothers diabetes, impaired father fertility, and exposure of one parent to job-related pollutants, show in many cases a direct correlation with hypospadias incidence. The overall prevalence of this condition has been studied in many countries, suggesting that at least in some periods and/or in specific populations there are detectable fluctuations, probably mirroring the different natural environments. However, many articles present data that do not agree with these findings and, consequently, most causes of hypospadias are still highly debated.In this review, we summarize the developmental steps involved in urogenital tract formation, with a particular emphasis on the genes that most frequently are associated with this condition, or that are subject to environmental stress, or that may be the targets of hormone-like, exogenous molecules. Then, we make an overview of the identified factors able to impair the function of important genes, even in the absence of their mutations, including those for which contradictory reports have been published. Finally, we propose an explanation of sporadic cases of hypospadias that reconciles these contradictions and suggest some steps for moving forward in the research focused on this condition.We hypothesize that most patients develop hypospadias because of gene-environment interactions acting on polymorphic genes that, in the absence of environmental stimuli, would otherwise cause no developmental anomaly during urogenital development.


Morgan A.,University of Trieste | Gandin I.,University of Trieste | Belcaro C.,University of Trieste | Palumbo P.,Medical Genetics Unit | And 12 more authors.
Mutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis | Year: 2015

The technological improvements over the last years made considerable progresses in the knowledge of the etiology of intellectual Disability (ID). However, at present very little is known about the genetic heterogeneity underlying the non-syndromic form of ID (NS-ID). To investigate the genetic basis of NS-ID we analyzed 43 trios and 22 isolated NS-ID patients using a targeted sequencing (TS) approach. 71 NS-ID genes have been selected and sequenced in all subjects. We found putative pathogenic mutations in 7 out of 65 patients. The pathogenic role of mutations was evaluated through sequence comparison and structural analysis was performed to predict the effect of alterations in a 3D computational model through molecular dynamics simulations. Additionally, a deep patient clinical re-evaluation has been performed after the molecular results. This approach allowed us to find novel pathogenic mutations with a detection rate close to 11% in our cohort of patients. This result supports the hypothesis that many NS-ID related genes still remain to be discovered and that NS-ID is a more complex phenotype compared to syndromic form, likely caused by a complex and broad interaction between genes alterations and environment factors. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | UOC Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Unit of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics, Medical Genetics Unit, University of Turin and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Mutation research | Year: 2015

The technological improvements over the last years made considerable progresses in the knowledge of the etiology of intellectual Disability (ID). However, at present very little is known about the genetic heterogeneity underlying the non-syndromic form of ID (NS-ID). To investigate the genetic basis of NS-ID we analyzed 43 trios and 22 isolated NS-ID patients using a targeted sequencing (TS) approach. 71 NS-ID genes have been selected and sequenced in all subjects. We found putative pathogenic mutations in 7 out of 65 patients. The pathogenic role of mutations was evaluated through sequence comparison and structural analysis was performed to predict the effect of alterations in a 3D computational model through molecular dynamics simulations. Additionally, a deep patient clinical re-evaluation has been performed after the molecular results. This approach allowed us to find novel pathogenic mutations with a detection rate close to 11% in our cohort of patients. This result supports the hypothesis that many NS-ID related genes still remain to be discovered and that NS-ID is a more complex phenotype compared to syndromic form, likely caused by a complex and broad interaction between genes alterations and environment factors.

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