Supplementary Material for: Normal Growth despite Combined Pituitary Hormone Deficiency

<b><i>Background:</i></b> The paradox of normal growth despite a lack of growth hormone (GH) is an unexplained phenomenon described in some pathological (sellar, suprasellar, and hypothalamic disorders) and overgrowth syndromes. It has been suggested that the paradoxical growth is due to other GH variants, GH-like moieties, prolactin, insulin, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), and unidentified serum factors or growth mechanisms. The objective of this study was to determine the mechanism underlying this normal growth without GH. <b><i>Case Description:</i></b> We describe here growth, hormonal, and genetic analyses for an adolescent boy with panhypopituitarism who achieved an adult height above his genetic potential. <b><i>Results:</i></b> Normal growth was observed despite low serum GH, IGF-I, IGF-II, IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) and acid labile subunit (ALS) concentrations, but the IGF-II/IGFBP-3 molar ratio was slightly high. Panhypopituitarism was associated with a heterozygous missense mutation of <i>HESX1</i>, with variable penetrance in heterozygous relatives. Exome analysis detected heterozygous missense mutations of various genes involved in intracellular signaling pathways. The growth-promoting activity of the patient’s serum was unable to induce AKT phosphorylation in the MCF-7 cell line. <b><i>Conclusion:</i></b> The high IGF-II/IGFBP-3 molar ratio was not the cause of the sustained high growth velocity, due to the low affinity of IGF-II for IGF type 1 receptor. The key finding was the <i>HESX1</i> mutation, as similar cases have been described before, suggesting a common mechanism for growth without GH. However, the variable penetrance of this variant in heterozygous relatives suggests that modifier genes or mechanisms involving combinations with mutations of other genes involved in intracellular signaling pathways might be responsible.