Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is known to be due to thyroid dyshormonogenesis (DH), which is mostly inherited in an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern or thyroid dysgenesis (TD), whose inheritance pattern is controversial and whose molecular etiology remains poorly understood.
The variants in 37 candidate genes of CH, including 25 genes related to TD, were screened by targeted exon sequencing in 205 Chinese patients whose CH cannot be explained by biallelic variants in genes related to DH. The inheritance pattern of the genes was analyzed in family trios or quartets.
Of the 205 patients, 83 patients carried at least one variant in 19 genes related to TD, and 59 of those 83 patients harbored more than two variants in distinct candidate genes for CH. Biallelic or de novo variants in the genes related to TD in Chinese patients are rare. We also found nine probands carried only one heterozygous variant in the genes related to TD that were inherited from a euthyroid either paternal or maternal parent. These findings did not support the monogenic inheritance pattern of the genes related to TD in CH patients. Notably, in family trio or quartet analysis, of 36 patients carrying more than two variants in distinct genes, 24 patients carried these variants inherited from both their parents, which indicated that the oligogenic inheritance pattern of the genes related to TD should be considered in CH.
Our study expanded the variant spectrum of the genes related to TD in Chinese CH patients. It is rare that CH in Chinese patients could be explained by monogenic germline variants in genes related to TD. The hypothesis of an oligogenic origin of the CH should be considered.

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.