Background: Leydig insulin-like hormone (Insl3), a member of the insulin-like superfamily, is specifically expressed in Leydig cells of fetal and postnatal murine testis. Recently, the absence of the Insl3 gene has been reported to result in bilateral cryptorchidism in male mice and it has been suggested that mutations of the INSL3 gene may cause cryptorchidism in humans.
Methods: We sequenced the INSL3 gene from five Japanese patients with sporadic bilateral cryptorchidism. Patients’ genome DNA was prepared from blood leukocytes. Two exons of the INSL3 gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and were sequenced directly. A restriction fragment length polymorphism assay was performed on 70 control samples for analysis of polymorphism.
Results: Three of five cases had a heterozygous single-base change, a G to A transition at position 178 of the INSL3 gene, which predicts an alanine (GCC) to threonine (ACC) change at codon 60 (designated A60T). However, the A60T mutation was also found in the normal Japanese population at an allele frequency of 26%, which suggests that this mutation is a common polymorphism and is not associated with the occurence of cryptorchidism.
Conclusions: No mutation has been found in the INSL3 gene from Japanese patients with idiopathic cryptorchidism. We did find the A60T polymorphism, which was not associated with the occurence of cryptorchidism.