Article: Androgen insensitivity syndrome
What is androgen insensitivity syndrome?
Androgen insensitivity syndrome is an inherited condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with this condition are genetically male, with one X and one Y chromosome. Because their bodies are unable to respond to certain hormones (called androgens), they may have mostly female sexual characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development.
Complete androgen insensitivity syndrome occurs when the body cannot use androgens at all. Partial or mild androgen insensitivity syndrome results when tissues are partially sensitive to the effects of androgens.
How common is androgen insensitivity syndrome?
Complete androgen insensitivity syndrome affects 2 to 5 per 100,000 live male births. Partial androgen insensitivity is at least as common as complete androgen insensitivity. Mild androgen insensitivity is much less common.
What genes are related to androgen insensitivity syndrome?
The AR gene provides instructions to make a protein called an androgen receptor. This protein allows cells to respond to androgens, which are hormones (such as testosterone) that direct male sexual development. Mutations in the AR gene prevent the androgen receptor from working properly, which makes cells less responsive to androgens or prevents cells from using these hormones at all. Depending on the level of androgen insensitivity, sexual characteristics can vary from mostly female to mostly male.
How do people inherit androgen insensitivity syndrome?
This condition is inherited in an X-linked recessive pattern. A condition is considered X-linked if the gene that causes the disorder is located on the X chromosome (one of the two sex chromosomes). In males, who have only one X chromosome, one altered copy of the gene is sufficient to cause the condition. Males are affected by X-linked recessive disorders much more frequently than females.
About two-thirds of cases are inherited from a woman who carries an altered copy of the AR gene on one of her two X chromosomes. The other one-third of cases result from a new mutation in a mother’s egg cell before the child is conceived.
Source: Genetics Home Reference
Cache Date: April 13, 2005
- 1998 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates - National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports (Division of Reproductive Health, NCCDPHP, CDC)
- Advances in Fertility (Cleveland Clinic)