To identify the contribution of mutations in the Desert Hedgehog (DHH) gene to the disorders of sexual differentiation (DSD) and male infertility.
The study included a total 430 subjects, including 47 gonadal dysgenesis cases, 6 patients with undescended testis and infertility characterized by azoospermia, 125 infertile male patients characterized by oligoasthenozoospermia, 24 patients with oligoasthenoteratozoospermia, and 200 ethnically matched normozoospermic fertile men who had fathered a child in the last two years. Sequencing of the complete coding region of the DHH gene was undertaken to find its contribution to the DSD and male infertility.
We observed four novel mutations in the DHH gene in the cases with different reproductive anomalies. A synonymous substitution, c. 543C>T (p.His181His) was observed in 6.6% oligoasthenozoospermic infertile males and 1.5% normozoospermic fertile control samples (RR = 4.4077, 95%CI 1.19-16.29). Another synonymous substitution, c.990G>A (p.Ala330Ala) was observed in an infertile patient with unilateral undescended testis (case #12). Insertion of G at c.1156insG (p.Arg385fs) was observed in a case with bilateral undescended testis and azoospermia (case #23). In gonadal dysgenesis category, two mutations, insertion of G at c.1156insG (p.Arg385fs) and c.997A>G (p.Thr333Ala) substitution were observed in one case (case #34). These mutations were completely absent in control samples.
Mutations in the DHH gene impact reproduction with mild mutations affecting fertility, and severe or multiple mutations resulting in gonadal dysgenesis.