14 January 1998
Mutations in the gene encoding the Pit-1 transcriptional activator interfere with the embryologic determination and ultimate functions of anterior pituitary cells that produce growth hormone (GH), prolactin (Prl) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Central hypothyroidism is often the presenting feature of combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD), but it is not detected in screening programs that rely upon elevation of TSH. We report a child whose hypothyroidism was recognized clinically at age 6 weeks, and subsequently found to have GH and Prl as well as TSH deficiency. With thyroxine and GH replacement he has reached the 70th percentile for height and has normal intelligence. Molecular analysis of genomic DNA for Pit-1 revealed the presence of compound heterozygous recessive mutations: a nonsense mutation in codon 172 and a novel missense mutation substituting glycine for glutamate at codon 174. This case is the first demonstration of CPHD due to compound heterozygous Pit-1 point mutations, as most reported cases of the CPHD phenotype involve either the dominant negative R271W allele or homozygosity for recessive Pit-1 mutations. Therefore, in cases of CPHD, the possibilities of compound heterozygosity for two different Pit-1 mutations, or homozygosity for mutations in the epigenetic gene, Prop-1, should be considered.