[Pendred syndrome among patients with hypothyroidism: genetic diagnosis, phenotypic variability and occurrence of phenocopies].
Pendred syndrome (OMIM274600) is one of the causes of congenital hypothyroidism due to thyroid dyshormonogenesis. It is an autosomal recessive disease classically characterized by dyshormonogenetic goitre and sensorineural deafness. It is caused by mutations in PDS/SLC26A4 gene encoding for pendrin--an anion transporter, mostly expressed in the thyroid gland and the inner ear. The thyroid impairment in Pendred syndrome develops only in 80% of affected individuals in form of a euthyroid or hypothyroid goitre, which is rarely present at birth, when it can be diagnosed by the neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism. The study was aimed to identify patients with Pendred syndrome among children with congenital or postnatal non-autoimmune hypothyroidism and subsequently confirm the diagnosis by finding mutations in the PDS/SLC26A4 gene.We examined two-hundred thirty-six Caucasians with hypothyroidism diagnosed by screening or developing later in childhood. The clinical diagnosis of Pendred syndrome was based on the laboratory and ultrasonographic signs of thyroid dyshormonogenesis (elevated TSH, low T4/fT4, goitre or normal thyroid volume) in association with sensorineural hearing loss. In subjects clinically diagnosed as Pendred syndrome, we sequenced all 21 exons of the PDS/SLC26A4 gene and their flanking intron-exon junctions. Among 236 children, nine fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of Pendred syndrome. In four, the diagnosis was confirmed by identification of mutations in the PDS/SLC26A4 gene, the remaining five patients were concluded phenocopies.Our study confirms the high phenotypic variability of thyroid impairment in Pendred syndrome and underlines the necessity of a molecular-genetic investigation for establishing the diagnosis in regard of the great number of phenocopies. However, from the endocrinologist's point of view, the genetic testing is only reasonable in patients with congenital hypothyroidism due to dyshormonogenesis in association with sever to profound sensorineural hearing loss.