• androgen receptor-polymorphism;
  • Klinefelter syndrome;
  • skewed X inactivation;
  • X-chromosome inactivation


The phenotypic variation of Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is wide and may by caused by various genetic and epigenetic effects. Skewed inactivation of the supra-numerical X chromosome and polymorphism in the androgen receptor (AR) have been suggested as plausible causes. We wanted to describe X-chromosome inactivation patterns and the AR polymorphism and correlate these to clinical findings in KS in a cross-sectional study. To that end, we studied 70 KS patients enrolled from fertility clinics and endocrine clinics and 70 age-matched control subjects. The main outcome was X-chromosome inactivation pattern (skewX), AR polymorphism (CAGn – repeat length) and correlation to anthropometrical, hormonal, metabolic and bone-related variables. Forty-six of 70 KS men were heterozygous for CAGn. The shortest and the longest alleles were equally frequent inactivated and the mean CAGn of the two alleles did not differ significantly from the CAGn from either KS men, homozygous for the CAGn, or from the control subjects (22 vs. 23 vs. 21). SkewX was found in 12 of the 46 informative KS men (26%). In KS, height and arm span correlated positively to CAGn, whereas total cholesterol and haematocrit correlated negatively to CAGn. In controls, bone mineral density at the spine and hip correlated positively with CAGn, whereas adiponectin correlated negatively with CAGn. SkewX did not correlate to any of the investigated parameters. We conclude that CAGn polymorphism in AR explain some of the phenotypic variation in KS, whereas skewed X-chromosome inactivation did not. The impact of CAGn on final height may be caused by later reactivation of the pituitary–gonadal axis.