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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;61(10):1220-5. Epub 2007 Feb 21.

Genetic testing improves the diagnosis of adult type hypolactasia in the Mediterranean population of Sardinia.

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  • 1Biomedical Science and Biotechnologies, University of Cagliari, Via Jenner, Cagliari, Italy.



Recently, the C/T-13910 polymorphism on chromosome 2q21 in North-European populations has been found completely associated with lactase activity and its genetic typing proposed as first-stage screening test for adult hypolactasia. However, the C/T-13910 variant in some sub-Saharan African groups is not a predictor of lactase persistence. In this work, we wanted to verify if in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, located in Southern Europe, the C/T-13910 polymorphism may be useful or not for the diagnosis of adult type hypolactasia.


Validation study of a genetic testing for adult type hypolactasia in Sardinians.


Brotzu Hospital and Microcitemico Hospital, Cagliari, Italy.


The sample consisted in 84 Sardinian individuals (63 women and 21 men; range 20-73 years) selected from a group of 832 patients.


Genetic testing was compared to an improved test obtained by a combination of different breath hydrogen tests and clinical assessment.


We found that all 49 individuals with lactose malabsorption, demonstrated by a combination of different breath hydrogen tests and clinical assessment, carried the C/C-13910 genotype associated with lactase non-persistence, 23 individuals with lactose normal absorption carried the C/T-13910 genotype associated with lactase persistence and only one person with the above phenotype showed a discordant C/C-13910 genotype. The genetic testing showed very high sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of 100, 95.8, 98 and 100%, respectively.


Sardinians, unlike some ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa, show the same genetic association of hypolactasia with the C/T-13910 variant as other North-European populations. The genetic testing for the C/T-13910 variant may contribute to improving the diagnosis of adult type hypolactasia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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