Pubertal Development in 17Beta-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 3 Deficiency


17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) type 3 deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder with diminished testosterone synthesis and consequently underandrogenisation. 46,XY patients with 17β-HSD type 3 deficiency are often assigned a female sex at birth but have a high virilisation potential at the time of puberty.


We studied four 46,XY patients with 17β-HSD type 3 deficiency at puberty with regard to the underlying mutations, the hormone values, and the clinical findings.


Three patients were initially assigned a female sex and 1 was assigned a male sex. All had relevant mutations in the HSD17B3 gene. The 2 patients with deleterious mutations had lower testosterone values at the time of puberty than the patients with possible residual activity of 17β-HSD type 3. One of the latter patients changed to male gender.


All 4 patients with 17β-HSD type 3 deficiency synthesized relevant amounts (>0.7 µg/L) of testosterone at puberty, which lead to variable androgenisation. In patients with presumable residual activity of the mutated enzyme, testosterone values in the male reference range can be achieved, thereby inducing male pubertal development. These patients should possibly be assigned a male sex. Any surgical intervention should be avoided until the patients are old enough to consider their options of medical and surgical intervention.



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