The aim of this study was the characterization of mutations of the LDL receptor gene in 39 Italian patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, who were examined during the period 1994 to 1996, The age of the patients ranged from 1 to 64 years; one third of them were older than 30, Plasma LDL cholesterol level ranged from 10.8 to 25.1 mmol/L, The residual LDL receptor activity, measured in cultured fibroblasts of 32 patients, varied from <2% to 30% of normal and was inversely correlated with the plasma LDL cholesterol level (r = -0.665; P < 0.003). The most severe coronary atherosclerosis was observed in those patients with the lowest residual LDL receptor activity (less than or equal to 5% of normal) and the highest plasma LDL cholesterol levels. Twenty-nine patients (23 of whom were unrelated) were found to be homozygotes at the LDL receptor locus. In this group we discovered 2 major rearrangements and 12 different point mutations (9 in the coding region and 3 in splice sites). Some mutations (D200G, C358R, V502M, G528D, and P664L) were found in 3 or more unrelated patients. Patients with the same mutation shared the same haplotype at the LDL receptor gene locus and came from the same geographic area. Ten patients (9 of whom were unrelated) were found to be compound heterozygotes. The mutations found in this group consisted of one large deletion and 12 point mutations (11 in the coding sequence and one in a splice site). In 3 compound heterozygotes we failed to identify the second mutant allele at the LDL receptor locus. These observations confirm the allelic heterogeneity underlying familial hypercholesterolemia in the Italian population and indicate that the variability of phenotypic expression of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia is, to a large extent, related to the type of mutation of the LDL receptor gene.
Analysis of LDL receptor gene mutations in Italian patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia / S., Bertolini; Cassanelli, Stefano; R., Garuti; Ghisellini, Margherita; Ml, Simone; M., Rolleri; CALANDRA BUONAURA, Sebastiano; P., Masturzo. - In: ARTERIOSCLEROSIS, THROMBOSIS, AND VASCULAR BIOLOGY. - ISSN 1079-5642. - ELETTRONICO. - 19:(1999), pp. 408-418.