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Pediatr Res. 2007 Aug;62(2):176-9.

Heterozygosity for ABCA3 mutations modifies the severity of lung disease associated with a surfactant protein C gene (SFTPC) mutation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


Heterozygous SFTPC mutations have been associated with adult and pediatric interstitial lung disease (pILD). Inheritance is autosomal dominant, but de novo mutations may cause sporadic disease. SFTPC mutations have been associated with variable onset of symptoms, ranging from early infancy to late adulthood. The underlying mechanisms for this variability are unknown. Recently, mutations in ABCA3 (encoding member A3 of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette family of transporters) were identified as a cause of pILD. To test the hypothesis that ABCA3 mutations modify the severity of lung disease in individuals with SFTPC mutations, we sequenced ABCA3 from four symptomatic infants with the same SFTPC mutation, a substitution of isoleucine by threonine in codon 73 (I73T). Each infant developed respiratory symptoms by 2 mo of age and inherited the mutation from an asymptomatic parent. Three of the four infants were also heterozygous for an ABCA3 mutation, which was inherited from the parent without SFTPC I73T. The finding of heterozygosity for ABCA3 mutations in severely affected infants with SFTPC I73T, and independent inheritance from disease-free parents supports that ABCA3 acts as a modifier gene for the phenotype associated with an SFTPC mutation.

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