Background: Amyloidosis is a disorder of protein metabolism characterized by extracellular accumulation of abnormal protein fibrils. Different proteins form the fibrils in different forms of the disease, and the condition can be acquired or hereditary. Involvement of the heart is quite common, producing a serious and usually fatal cardiomyopathy. Cardiac amyloidosis is often diagnosed late, and cardiac biopsy together with proper histological examination is essential. Contrary to previous perceptions, there is much recent evidence of effective treatment for several different types of systemic and cardiac amyloidosis, including the most common hereditary form caused by mutations in the transthyretin gene. Chemical and genetic typing of amyloid is therefore of considerable clinical importance. Methods and Results: Seven members in two generations of an Italian family presented with cardiac disease inherited as an autosomal dominant and were found to have systemic amyloidosis. Angina pectoris-like pain, an unusual feature in cardiac amyloidosis, was a prominent symptom, possibly related to partial obliteration of the distal coronary arteries by amyloid infiltration. There were also cases of sudden cardiac death. Peripheral and autonomic neuropathy, which are the usual features of hereditary amyloidosis, were present in only two cases, and a diagnosis of acquired, immunoglobulin light chain (AL type) amyloidosis was suspected in the index case before the family history emerged. In fact, the amyloid fibrils were composed of transthyretin, and the two affected individuals from whom DNA was available were both heterozygotes for a single base change in exon 3 of the transthyretin gene, encoding substitution of Lys for the wild-type Thr residue at position 59 in the mature protein. This mutation has not previously been reported. Conclusions: We have identified a novel mutation in the transthyretin gene encoding 59Thr→Lys associated with autosomal dominant hereditary systemic amyloidosis in an Italian kindred in whom cardiac involvement was the major feature. This family illustrates the difficulty in diagnosis of cardiac amyloid, the variable clinical phenotype in hereditary amyloidosis even within a family, and the importance of precise fibril typing for correct management in this condition.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 15 1995|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine