Background/Aim: Variability in the severity and age at onset of autosomal dominant familial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus (adFNDI) may be associated with certain types of variants in the arginine vasopressin (AVP) gene. In this study, we aimed to describe a large family with an apparent predominant female occurrence of polyuria and polydipsia and to determine the underlying cause. Methods: The family members reported their family demography and symptoms. Two subjects were diagnosed by fluid deprivation and dDAVP challenge tests. Eight subjects were tested genetically. The identified variant along with 3 previously identified variants in the AVP gene were investigated by heterologous expression in a human neuronal cell line (SH-SY5Y). Results: Both subjects investigated clinically had a partial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus phenotype. A g.276_278delTCC variant in the AVP gene causing a Ser18del deletion in the signal peptide (SP) of the AVP preprohormone was perfectly co-segregating with the disease. When expressed in SH-SY5Y cells, the Ser18del variant along with 3 other SP variants (g.227G>A, Ser17Phe, and Ala19Thr) resulted in reduced AVP mRNA, impaired AVP secretion, and partial AVP prohormone degradation and retention in the endoplasmic reticulum. Impaired SP cleavage was demonstrated directly in cells expressing the Ser18del, g.227G>A, and Ala19Thr variants, using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry. Conclusion: Variants affecting the SP of the AVP preprohormone cause adFNDI with variable phenotypes by a mechanism that may involve impaired SP cleavage combined with effects at the mRNA, protein, and cellular level.

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