Ethnic differences

The normal range of CAG repeats is probably 9 to 37 and follows a normal, slightly skewed distribution towards the higher number of triplets (Edwards et al. 1992; Hsing 2000a; Kuhlenbäumer etal. 2001; Platz etal. 2000) and symptoms related to XBSMA seem to start at 38 to 40 CAG repeats (Pioro etal. 1994). Within the normal range of the AR polyglutamine stretch, significant differences between ethnic groups have been observed. For healthy men of African descent the mean number of CAG repeats ranges between 18 and 20 (Edwards etal. 1992; Platz etal. 2000) and seems to be even shorter in certain African subpopulations (Kittles etal. 2001). In healthy Caucasians the mean number of CAG repeats is 21 to 22 (Edwards etal. 1992; Platz et al. 2000) while in East Asians a mean of 22-23 triplets is found (Hsing et al. 2000a; Platz et al. 2000, van Houten and Gooren 2000; Wang etal. 2001) (also see Chapter 2). These differences can possibly be held responsible for some variations of androgen-dependent diseases and features which are observed among different ethnicities, e.g. beard growth or rate of prostate cancer.

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