Background and Aim: Inherited hypercholesterolemias are common disorders characterised by elevated LDL-C levels and premature coronary heart disease. We have recently described a recessive form of hypercholesterolemia (autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia, ARH) in which LDL catabolism is reduced because of a mutation in the gene coding for an adaptor protein that impairs LDL-receptor (LDL-R) activity in the liver. The aim of this study was to characterise in detail the phenotypes of subjects with homozygous and heterozygous ARH. Methods and Results: We have so far identified six Italian families with ARH and studied the clinical and biochemical characteristics of 11 homozygotes (age 13-47 years) and 12 obligate heterozygotes (age 42-83 years). The study protocol included an evaluation of the lipoprotein profile, LDL-R activity in fibroblasts, LDL binding activity, and apo E genotype; a structured questionnaire (CHD risk factors, medical history, current medications); a physical examination, resting and stress ECG, ultrasound examinations (heart, carotid arteries, Achilles tendons) and coronary angiography. The pedigrees were characterised by the absence of vertical transmission; consanguinity was documented in two families. Only the two previously described Sardinian mutations, ARH1 (c.432insA) and ARH2 (c.65G>A), were identified in the probands. All of the ARH homozygotes had large tendinous xanthomas, two had exertional angina, and four a positive stress ECG. None had experienced myocardial infarction or stroke. More than half had instrumental signs of atherosclerosis such as a positive stress ECG or positive carotid echo-doppler examination. The ARH heterozygotes were consistently normal and had a normal lipid profile. Conclusions: The ARH phenotype resembles that of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) homozygotes, but ARH may be a less serious illness. The absence of vertical transmission, and the presence of mild coronary heart disease and consanguinity, can suggest a possible diagnosis of ARH. ARH might be considered a phenocopy of FH but heterozygous subjects seem to have a consistently normal phenotype.
- Autosomal recessive
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics