Case Reports
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Reduced appetite and body mass index with delayed puberty in a mother and son: association with a rare novel sequence variant in the leptin gene.

INTRODUCTION: Leptin deficiency caused by mutations within the leptin gene (LEP) results in severe early onset obesity, hypogonadism, pubertal delay and immune system abnormalities. Constitutional delay in growth and puberty (CDGP) is a common condition seen in paediatric clinics, in which children present with delayed growth and puberty but usually also have a slim body habitus. We hypothesized that LEP variants may play a role in the phenotype seen in CDGP.

AIM: To screen a group of children with CDGP for pathogenic sequence variants in LEP.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Denaturing HPLC was used to screen for LEP sequence variants in DNA samples from 78 children with CDGP (predominantly white males) and 112 control subjects. DNA fragments with a WAVE pattern deviant from wild type were directly sequenced. A STAT3 luciferase reporter assay in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells transiently transfected with the leptin receptor was used to test activity of mutant leptin.

RESULTS: One child with CDGP was identified to be heterozygous for a novel missense variant (c.68C>G), which results in a proline to arginine substitution (p.P23R). This sequence variant was not identified in any of the other control subjects, but was identified in his mother who shared a similar phenotype of slim body habitus, reduced appetite and pubertal delay (menarche aged 15 years). The leptin variant showed similar stability in serum compared with wild type and did not demonstrate increased activity in an in vitro reporter gene assay.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of a sequence variant within the LEP gene associated with reduced body mass index rather than obesity. We hypothesize that this variant has increased bioactivity in vivo.

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