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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1996 Aug;16(8):992-9.

Accumulation of HDL apolipoproteins accompanies abnormal cholesterol accumulation in Schnyder's corneal dystrophy.

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  • 1National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda 20892-1422, USA.


Schnyder's corneal dystrophy is an autosomal dominant disorder that results in clouding of the central cornea and premature development of peripheral arcus in the cornea. Previous studies showed that abnormal lipid accumulation is the basis for the corneal clouding. We examined whether apolipoproteins are involved in this disorder and characterized the lipid accumulation in the central portion of corneas removed from patients with Schnyder's dystrophy. Our findings show that cholesterol and phospholipid contents increased greater than 10-fold and 5-fold, respectively, in affected compared with normal corneas. In addition, the percentage of cholesterol that was unesterified (63% versus 50%) and the molar ratio of unesterified cholesterol to phospholipid (1.5 versus 0.5) were higher in affected compared with normal corneas. Large multilamellar vesicles and electron-dense granules (100 to 300 nm in diameter) as well as cholesterol crystals accumulated in the extracellular matrix of affected corneas. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that apolipoprotein constituents of HDL (apoA-I, apoA-II, and apoE), but not apoB, a marker of LDL, accumulated in the affected cornea. Western blot analysis confirmed the increased amounts of these HDL apolipoproteins in affected corneas and showed that the apparent molecular weights of the apolipoproteins were normal. Our findings show for the first time that HDL apolipoproteins accumulate in the corneas of patients with Schnyder's corneal dystrophy. Thus, this disorder influences the metabolism of HDL in the corneas of these patients.

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