A unique case of combined pituitary hormone deficiency caused by a PROP1 gene mutation (R120C) associated with normal height and absent puberty

Armando Arroyo, Flavia Pernasetti, Vyacheslav V. Vasilyev, Paula Amato, Samuel S.C. Yen, Pamela L. Mellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We report a 28-year-old-female who presented with primary amenorrhoea, absence of puberty, obesity and normal stature. The subject was clearly short as a child, with a height more than 2 SD below normal until the age of 15 years. The pubertal growth spurt failed to develop. She continued growing at a prepubertal rate until growth ceased at the age of 20 years, reaching her final adult height of 157 cm (SDS -0.86) without hormonal treatment. A combined pituitary hormone stimulation test of anterior pituitary function showed deficiencies of GH, LH and FSH, and low normal serum levels of TSH and PRL. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a hypoplastic pituitary with markedly reduced pituitary height. In addition, a whole body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan showed high levels of body fat (54%). Combined pituitary hormone deficiencies with a hypoplastic pituitary suggested the diagnosis of a Prophet of Pit-1 (PROP1) gene mutation. Normal stature in this case, however, confounded this diagnosis. Sequencing of PROP1 revealed homozygosity for a single base-pair substitution (C to T), resulting in the replacement of an Arg by a Cys at codon 120 (R120C) in the third helix of the homeodomain of the Prop-1 protein. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a patient with a mutation in the PROP1 gene that attained normal height without hormonal treatment, indicating a new variability in the PROP1 phenotype, with important implications for the diagnosis of these patients. We suggest that this can be explained by (i) the presence of low levels of GH in the circulation during childhood and adolescence; (ii) the lack of circulating oestrogen delaying epiphyseal fusion, resulting in growth beyond the period of normal growth; and (iii) fusion of the epiphyseal plates, possibly as a result of circulating oestrogens originating from peripheral conversion of androgens by adipose tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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