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Ein paar Studien:
There is a likely genetic component to gender dysphoria, but association study data have been equivocal.
We explored the specific hypothesis that gender dysphoria in transgender women is associated with variants in sex hormone–signaling genes responsible for undermasculinization and/or feminization.
Subject-control analysis included 380 transgender women and 344 control male subjects. Associations and interactions were investigated between functional variants in 12 sex hormone–signaling genes and gender dysphoria in transgender women.
Patients were recruited from the Monash Gender Clinic, Monash Health, Melbourne, Australia, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Caucasian (non-Latino) transgender women were recruited who received a diagnosis of transsexualism [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV) or gender dysphoria (DSM-V)] pre- or postoperatively. Most were receiving hormone treatment at the time of recruitment.
Main Outcome Measured
Genomic DNA was genotyped for repeat length polymorphisms or single nucleotide polymorphisms.
A significant association was identified between gender dysphoria and ERα, SRD5A2, and STS alleles, as well as ERα and SULT2A1 genotypes. Several allele combinations were also overrepresented in transgender women, most involving AR (namely, AR-ERβ, AR-PGR, AR-COMT, CYP17-SRD5A2). Overrepresented alleles and genotypes are proposed to undermasculinize/feminize on the basis of their reported effects in other disease contexts.
Gender dysphoria may have an oligogenic component, with several genes involved in sex hormone–signaling contributing.
2. The Use of Whole Exome Sequencing in a Cohort of Transgender Individuals to Identify Rare Genetic Variants, 2019
Approximately 0.5–1.4% of natal males and 0.2–0.3% of natal females meet DSM-5 criteria for gender dysphoria, with many of these individuals self-describing as transgender men or women. Despite recent improvements both in social acceptance of transgender individuals as well as access to gender affirming therapy, progress in both areas has been hampered by poor understanding of the etiology of gender dysphoria. Prior studies have suggested a genetic contribution to gender dysphoria, but previously proposed candidate genes have not yet been verified in follow-up investigation. In this study, we expand on the topic of gender identity genomics by identifying rare variants in genes associated with sexually dimorphic brain development and exploring how they could contribute to gender dysphoria. To accomplish this, we performed whole exome sequencing on the genomic DNA of 13 transgender males and 17 transgender females. Whole exome sequencing revealed 120,582 genetic variants. After filtering, 441 variants in 421 genes remained for further consideration, including 21 nonsense, 28 frameshift, 13 splice-region, and 225 missense variants. Of these, 21 variants in 19 genes were found to have associations with previously described estrogen receptor activated pathways of sexually dimorphic brain development. These variants were confirmed by Sanger Sequencing. Our findings suggest a new avenue for investigation of genes involved in estrogen signaling pathways related to sexually dimorphic brain development and their relationship to gender dysphoria.
Previously reported associations between second-to-fourth digit length ratio (2D:4D), a proxy for prenatal androgen load, and transgender identity have been inconsistent. The objectives of the present study were to provide additional original data and an updated meta-analysis concerning this association. In a study of 464 participants, we compared the 2D:4D of transgender individuals with age- and sex-matched controls. Patients were recruited at a specialized psychiatrist’s medical office, whereas controls were hired via flyers, advertisements, and as convenience sample. A random-effects meta-analysis of the literature (17 samples, n = 3674) also quantifies the overall magnitude of the difference in 2D:4D between transgender individuals and controls. In our study providing new original data, we found a significantly higher (i.e. feminized) left-hand 2D:4D in the male-to-female transgender (MtF) identity [mean age: 32.3 (18; 61)] than in the male control group [mean age: 34.5 (18; 65)] with a Cohen’s d = 0.271. Concordantly, the meta-analytic results suggest a significant difference in 2D:4D among MtF individuals compared to male controls [g = 0.153; 95% CI (0.063; 0.243)], which was even more pronounced when individuals had been diagnosed by a clinician instead of self-identified as transgender [g = 0.193; 95% CI (0.086; 0.300)]. In both studies, no significant results were revealed for female-to-male transgender individuals [mean age: 26.1 (18; 53)] versus female controls [mean age: 27.2 (18; 55)]. This original investigation and the updated meta-analysis clarify the association between transgender identity and 2D:4D indicating the influence of prenatal androgen on the development of gender identity in subjects born as males.
4. Polymorphic Cytosine-Adenine-Guanine Repeat Length of Androgen
Receptor Gene and Gender Incongruence in Trans Women:
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Case-Control Studies, 2020
Introduction: It has been hypothesized that gender incongruence in transgender women could result from an antenatal impaired androgen activity on the developing brain. As the length of polymorphic cytosineadenine-guanine (CAG) repeat sequences in the androgen receptor (AR) gene is inversely correlated with AR transcriptional activity, some studies explored a possible association between long CAG repeats and gender incongruence in trangender women. Yet results remain inconclusive.
Aim: To systematically evaluate whether a difference exists in the length of AR CAG repeat sequences between trans women and men without gender incongruence.
Methods: A thorough search of Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases was carried out to identify suitable case-control studies. Methodological quality of the included articles was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. In the absence of between-studies heterogeneity, as assessed by the Cochrane’s Q and I 2 tests, standardized mean differences (SMDs) in the length of AR CAG repeats were combined using a fixed effect model. Funnel plot and trim-and-fill analysis were used to assess publication bias.
Main Outcome Measure: The association of gender incongruence in transgender women with longer length of AR CAG repeat sequences was evaluated by calculating pooled standardized mean difference with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: 5 studies included in the quantitative analysis collectively provided information on 795 trans women and 1,355 control men. At the overall estimate, the MtF group exhibited a significantly longer length of AR CAG repeat sequences (pooled standardized mean difference: 0.13, 95% CI: 0.04 to 0.22; P ¼ 0.005; I 2 ¼ 0%, Pfor heterogeneity ¼ 0.51). Sensitivity analysis demonstrated the high stability of the result. Funnel plot revealed a possible publication bias, and the trim-and-fill test detected 2 putative missing studies. Nevertheless, the significant association persisted even when pooled estimate was adjusted for publication bias.
Clinical Implications: These findings could suggest a contribution of a genetically mediated impairment in androgen signaling in development of gender incongruence for transgender women.
Strength & Limitations: This is the first meta-analysis exploring the relationship between AR CAG repeat polymorphism and gender incongruence. However, interactions with other functional genetic variants were not explored, and caution should be exercised when generalizing these results because of the possible variability in the distribution of CAG repeats among different populations and ethnic groups.
Conclusion: Trans woman population exhibits significantly longer polymorphic CAG repeat sequences in the AR gene. Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether, how and to what extent multiple functional variants in sex hormone signaling genes could be associated with gender incongruence/dysphoria