Congenital adrenal hyperplasia(CAH)due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency (21-OHD) is an inherited autosomal recessive disorder. Its incidence is 1 in 10,000 to 20,000 worldwide. This disease shows phenotypic differences, and it is divided into three forms i.e., the salt wasting (SW), simple virilizing (SV), and nonclassic (NC) forms. The most severe form of SW manifests in the first months of life with life-threatening adrenal insufficiency, leading to death. To prevent death by adrenal insufficiency in neonates with the SW form and wrong gender assignment of 46,XX female patients with SW and SV, neonatal mass screening of 21-OHD is performed in several countries including Japan. However, the positive predictive value (PPV) remains low, especially in preterm infants. To reduce the false positive rate and increase the PPV, liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) as a second-tier test may be useful. In this review, the current knowledge on neonatal mass screening of 21-OHD is summarized.
The serum levels of calcium (Ca) and phosphate are maintained higher in the fetus than in the pregnant mother, especially in late gestation, to meet the demands of fetal bone development. In order to maintain this fetal stage-specific mineral homeostasis, the placenta plays a critical role through active transcellular mineral transport. Although the molecular mechanism of transplacental Ca transport has been well studied, little is known about the transport mechanism of phosphate and magnesium. Maternal mineral homeostasis is also altered during pregnancy to supply minerals to the fetus. In the lactating mother, osteocytic osteolysis is suggested to be involved in the supply of minerals to the baby. The levels of some calcitropic and phosphotropic (Ca- and phosphate-regulating, respectively) hormones in the fetus are also different from those in the adult. The PTH level in the fetus is lower than that in the mother and nonpregnant adult. It is suggested, however, that low fetal PTH plays an important role in fetal mineral metabolism. The concentration of PTHrP in the fetus is much higher than that of PTH and plays a critical role in perinatal Ca homeostasis. Uncovering the molecular mechanisms for fetal stage-specific mineral metabolism will lead to better management of perinatal patients with mineral abnormalities.