McCune-Albright syndrome (MAS) is a sporadic disease characterized by polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, café-au-lait spots, and multiple endocrinopathies. The etiology of fibrous dysplasia is unknown. Activating mutations of codon 201 in the gene encoding the alpha-subunit of Gs, the G-protein that stimulates adenylyl cyclase, have been found in all affected MAS tissues that have been studied. Initial attempts to amplify DNA from decalcified paraffin-embedded bone specimens from MAS patients were unsuccessful. Therefore, we analyzed DNA from frozen surgical bone specimens from five MAS patients using polymerase chain reaction and allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization. Most of the cells in four specimens of dysplastic bone contained a heterozygous mutation encoding substitution of Arg201 of Gs α with His, but the mutation was barely detectable in peripheral blood specimens from the patients. Only a small amount of mutant allele was detected in a specimen of normal cortical bone from the fifth patient, although this patient had a high proportion of mutation in other, affected tissues. The mosaic distribution of mutant alleles is consistent with an embryological somatic cell mutation of the Gs alpha gene in MAS. The presence of an activating mutation of Gs alpha in osteoblastic progenitor cells may cause them to exhibit increased proliferation and abnormal differentiation, thereby producing the lesions of fibrous dysplasia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical