Mutations in the cystic fibrosis (CF) conductance transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene have been detected in patients with CF and in males with infertility attributable to congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD). Thirty individuals with CBAVD and 10 with congenital unilateral absence of the vas deferens (CUAVD) were analyzed by single-strand conformation analysis and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis for mutations in most of the CFTR gene. All 40 individuals were pancreatic sufficient, but twenty patients had recurrent or sporadic respiratory infections, asthma/asthmatic bronchitis, and/or rhino-sinusitis. Agenesia or displasia of one or both seminal vesicles was detected in 30 men and other urogenital malformations were present in six subjects. Among the 40 samples, we identified 13 different CFTR mutations, two of which were previously unknown. One new mutation in exon 4 was the deletion of glutamic acid at codon 115 (ΔE115). A second new mutation was found in exon 17b, viz., an A→C substitution at position 3311, changing lysine to threonine at codon 1060 (K1060T). CFTR mutations were detected in 22 out of 30 (73.3%) CBAVD patients and in one out of 10 (10%) CUAVD individuals, showing a significantly lower incidence of CFTR mutations in CBAVD/CUAVD patients (P ≪ 0.0001), compared with that found in the CF patient population. Only three CBAVD patients were found with more than one CFTR mutation (ΔF508/L206W, ΔF508/R74W+D1270N, Rl 17H/712-1G→T), highlighting L206W, R74W/ D1270N, and R117H as benign CF mutations. Sweat electrolyte values were increased in 76.6% of CBAVD patients, but three individuals without CFTR mutations had normal sweat electrolyte levels (10% of the total CBAVD patients), suggesting that factors other than CFTR mutations are involved in CBAVD. The failure to identify a second mutation in exons and their flanking regions of the CFTR gene suggests that these mutations could be located in introns or in the promoter region of CFTR. Such mutations could result in CFTR levels below the minimum 6%-10% necessary for normal protein function.
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