Assessment of retinal thickness as a marker of brain masculinization in children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia: A pilot study

Onal H., Kutlu E., Aydln B., Ersen A., Topal N., Adal E., ...More

Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol.32, no.7, pp.683-687, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/jpem-2018-0397
  • Journal Name: Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.683-687
  • Keywords: congenital adrenal hyperplasia, disorders of sex development, gender dysphoria, retinal thickness
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


To investigate the relationship between brain masculinization and retinal thickness in children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Forty-five patients with CAH aged between 4 and 18 years and 30 age-matched healthy controls were included in this prospective study. Macular area was examined with optical coherence tomography (OCT); central subfield thickness (CST), cube volume (CV) and macular retinal thickness (MT) were measured in each subject. A gender identity questionnaire (GIQ) was used for the evaluation of gender happiness index. Girls with CAH had a higher CV (p = 0.002) and MT (p = 0.003) than healthy girls. No significant difference was found between boys with CAH and healthy boys regarding the retinal thickness measurements. Mean CST, CV and MT were significantly higher in boys than in girls in the control group (p = 0.013, p < 0.001, respectively), but there was no significant difference in those parameters between girls and boys with CAH. The gender happiness index was not different between healthy boys and boys with CAH, but was significantly lower in girls with CAH than healthy girls (p = 0.01). As retina is part of the brain, our finding appears to be a morphological evidence of the excess androgen exposure on brain structures in girls with CAH. In addition, we suggest using retinal thickness measurements as a marker of prenatal excess androgen exposure in future studies.