Purpose: Cryptorchidism affects 1% to 9% of full-term male neonates. Hypospadias is the second most frequent congenital anomaly seen in newborn males. These pathological conditions are part of the testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Insulin-like factor 3 and LGR8 (leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 8), acting as a hormone and a receptor, respectively, are involved in control of the first phase of testicular descent via gubernacular development. Materials and Methods: The study group consisted of 184 patients, of whom 52 presented with unilateral cryptorchidism, 37 presented with bilateral cryptorchidism, 19 presented with cryptorchidism and hypospadias, 1 presented with bilateral cryptorchidism and micropenis, and 75 presented with isolated hypospadias. A control panel consisted of 270 controls, including 127 fertile, and 143 fertile noncryptorchid males. Insulin-like factor 3 mutations were analyzed by direct sequencing and restriction enzyme digestion. We analyzed the ability of the mutant insulin-like factor 3 peptides identified in this study to activate LGR8 receptor in an ex vivo assays. Results: We identified 3 novel insulin-like factor 3 variants, including C-19G, V18M and R105H, in 3 of the 109 patients (2.75%) but in none of the 270 controls. The V18M mutation in the insulin-like factor 3 signal peptide had a significant deleterious effect in activating LGR8 receptor in ex vivo studies (p <0.05). To our knowledge we report the first variant in the promoter region of the insulin-like factor 3 gene in a patient with cryptorchidism in association with micropenis. Conclusions: Mutations involving the insulin-like factor 3 gene may contribute to other anomalies of male genital development, such as micropenis.
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