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J Lipid Res. 1996 Jan;37(1):35-44.

A new molecular defect in the lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) gene associated with fish eye disease.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.


We report a new genetic defect in the lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) gene associated with classical clinical and biochemical features of fish eye disease. The 63-year-old Australian female proband also suffers from non-insulin-dependent (type II) diabetes mellitus. She presented with corneal opacities, markedly reduced HDL-cholesterol (0.1 mmol/L; < 10% of normal controls), and elevated plasma triglycerides. The presence of diabetes did not explain the lipoprotein profile, which differed markedly in comparison to two female hypertriglyceridemic diabetic subjects. Cholesterol esterification in HDL-like particles was minimal but plasma cholesterol esterification was maintained due to LCAT activity in non-HDL-containing lipoprotein fractions. DNA sequence analysis of the proband's LCAT gene showed two C to T transitions resulting in the substitution of Thr123 with Ile and Tyr144 with Cys. Allele-specific PCR amplification procedures were used to confirm the presence of the mutations in this proband and to screen for additional carriers in her family. Three first degree relatives (mother, brother, son) were heterozygous for the Thr123 --> Ile mutation and her daughter had the Tyr144 --> Cys mutation. Apart from a reduction in HDL-cholesterol levels to half the normal concentration and a 20% reduction in apoA-I levels, their plasma lipids were unremarkable. The proband's son and daughter were further investigated. Both had normal cholesterol esterification rates in plasma and VLDL/LDL-depleted plasma, but reduced LCAT activity (50% that of normal). Thus, the biochemical and phenotypic expression for fish eye disease in the heterozygote subjects was similar, irrespective of the underlying LCAT mutation.

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