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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000 Jul;20(7):1784-8.

A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP -493G/T) influences lipoprotein phenotype in familial hypercholesterolemia.

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Atherosclerosis Research Unit, King Gustaf V Research Institute, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


The microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) has a key function in intracellular apolipoprotein (apo) B lipidation and secretion of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). A recently discovered functional polymorphism in the promoter of the MTP gene (-493G/T) affects the plasma concentration of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the VLDL distribution between large and small particle species in healthy men. This phenotype is likely to be explained by an effect on VLDL synthesis. Against this background, we studied the effect of the MTP-493G/T polymorphism in a large cohort (217 men and 211 women) with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). A 40% to 50% lower serum triglyceride level was observed in homozygous carriers of the MTP-493 T allele (T/T, 0.93+/-0.34; G/T, 1.54+/-1.40; and G/G, 1.56+/-1.24 mmol/L; T/T vs G/T P=0.04, T/T vs G/G P=0.02). In contrast to the situation in healthy subjects, the MTP promoter polymorphism did not have a significant effect on the LDL cholesterol levels in FH subjects, although the same trend was observed (T/T, 7.31+/-1.87; G/T, 7. 80+/-2.12; and G/G, 7.91+/-2.31 mmol/L, NS). Adjustment for the apo E gene polymorphism by inclusion of subjects homozygous for the apo E3 allele only revealed a reciprocal high density lipoprotein cholesterol-elevating effect (T/T, 1.41+/-0.73; G/T, 1.18+/-0.27; and G/G, 1.16+/-0.29 mmol/L; T/T vs G/T P=0.06, T/T vs G/G P=0.04). This effect seemed to be sex-specific because it was accounted for by the female patients. In conclusion, the LDL cholesterol-lowering effect of the rare MTP gene promoter variant (MTP-493T) present in healthy subjects is shifted to a triglyceride-lowering effect in FH. These data suggest that the MTP gene has a role in modulating the clinical phenotype of FH.

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