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Hum Mol Genet. 1999 Nov;8(12):2247-54.

Genetic epidemiology of the carnitine transporter OCTN2 gene in a Japanese population and phenotypic characterization in Japanese pedigrees with primary systemic carnitine deficiency.

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Department of Hygiene, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita 010-8543, Japan.


Serum free-carnitine levels were determined in 973 unrelated white collar workers in Akita, Japan. Fourteen of these participants consistently had serum free-carnitine levels below the fifth percentile (28 microM for females and 38 microM for males). The OCTN2 (organic cation transporter) gene was sequenced for these 14 subjects, for 22 subjects whose carnitine levels were below the fifth percentile in the first screening but were normal in the second measurement and in 69 individuals with normal carnitine levels for two separate measurements. Polymorphic sequences defined three major haplotypes with equal frequency. Mutations were identified in nine subjects with low carnitine levels: Trp132X (three individuals), Ser467Cys (four), Trp283Cys (one) and Met179Leu (one). In vitro expression studies in HEK cells indicated that Ser467Cys and Trp283Cys, but not Met179Leu, significantly reduced L-carnitine uptake relative to the normal control. Trp132X and Ser467Cys were associated with specific haplotypes, suggesting a founder effect. A conservative estimate of the overall prevalence of heterozygotes was 1.01% in the Akita prefecture, Japan, giving an estimated incidence of primary systemic carnitine deficiency (MIM 212140) as 1 in 40 000 births. An echocardiographic study of the families of patients with primary carnitine deficiency revealed that the heterozygotes for OCTN2 mutations were predisposed to late onset benign cardiac hypertrophy (odds ratio 15.1, 95% CI 1.39-164) compared with the wild-types. Sequencing of DNA isolated from three deceased siblings (1.5-8 years) in two families retrospectively confirmed that all three deceased subjects were homozygous for the OCTN2 mutations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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