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Tohoku J Exp Med. 2012 May;227(1):69-72.

Two novel mutations in the lactase gene in a Japanese infant with congenital lactase deficiency.

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Department of Pediatrics, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


Intestinal lactase is required for the hydrolysis of lactose that is the most essential carbohydrate in milk and the primary diet source of newborn. Congenital lactase deficiency [CLD (MIM 223000)] is a severe gastrointestinal disorder and is characterized by watery diarrhea due to an extremely low or the lack of lactase activity in the intestinal wall from birth. CLD is a rare disease and occurs more frequently in Finland. Recent studies have shown that mutations in the coding region of the lactase (LCT) gene underlie CLD in patients from Finland and other European countries. Here, we report two novel mutations in the LCT gene in a Japanese female infant with clinical features consistent with those of CLD. She suffered from severe watery diarrhea from the age of 2 days on breast milk/lactose containing cow's milk formula. With the lactose-free hydrolyzed cow's milk formula, diarrhea was stopped, and she has now developed well on a lactose-free diet. She shows a lactose-intolerance pattern on the lactose challenge test. Sequence analysis revealed the two mutations in her LCT gene: c.4419C>G (p.Y1473X) in exon 10 transmitted from her mother and c.5387delA (p.D1796fs) in exon 16 transmitted from her father. Both mutations cause premature truncation of lactase polypeptide and are supposed to be responsible for CLD. To our knowledge, this is the first report on mutations in the LCT gene in Japan. We suggest that an increased awareness is required regarding CLD.

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