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Molecular genetics of Conn adenomas in the era of exome analysis

Abstract : Aldosterone-producing adenomas (APA) are a major cause of primary aldosteronism (PA), the most common form of secondary hypertension. Exome analysis of APA has allowed the identification of recurrent somatic mutations in KCNJ5, CACNA1D, ATP1A1, and ATP2B3 in more than 50 % of sporadic cases. These gain of function mutations in ion channels and pumps lead to increased and autonomous aldosterone production. In addition, somatic CTNNB1 mutations have also been identified in APA. The CTNNB1 mutations were also identified in cortisol-producing adenomas and adrenal cancer, but their role in APA development and the mechanisms specifying the hormonal production or the malignant phenotype remain unknown. The role of the somatic mutations in the regulation of aldosterone production is well understood, while the impact of these mutations on cell proliferation remains to be established. Furthermore, the sequence of events leading to APA formation is currently the focus of many studies. There is evidence for a two-hit model where the somatic mutations are second hits occurring in a previously remodeled adrenal cortex. On the other hand, the APA-driver mutations were also identified in aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCC) in normal adrenals, suggesting that these structures may represent precursors for APA development. As PA due to APA can be cured by surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland, the identification of the underlying genetic abnormalities by novel biomarkers could improve diagnostic and therapeutic approaches of the disease. In this context, recent data on steroid profiling in peripheral venous samples of APA patients and on new drugs capable of inhibiting mutated potassium channels provide promising preliminary data with potential for translation into clinical care.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 7, 2022 - 4:08:00 PM
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Rami El Zein, Sheerazed Boulkroun, Fabio Luiz Fernandes-Rosa, Maria-Christina Zennaro. Molecular genetics of Conn adenomas in the era of exome analysis. La Presse Médicale, Elsevier Masson, 2018, 47 (7-8), pp.e151-e158. ⟨10.1016/j.lpm.2018.07.006⟩. ⟨inserm-03560586⟩



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