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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997 Nov;17(11):3092-101.

Comparison of the genetic defect with LDL-receptor activity in cultured cells from patients with a clinical diagnosis of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. The Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Regression Study Group.

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Lipoprotein Team, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


In this study we have analyzed the genetic defect in 42 patients with a diagnosis of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) by Southern blotting, SSCP, and sequencing of PCR-amplified fragments of genomic DNA or sequencing of RT-PCR products from mRNA in cultured cells. The apoB Arg3500Gln mutation was identified in five patients. A molecular defect in the LDL-receptor gene was confirmed in 23 patients; 16 of these mutations have not been described before. No defect in the coding region, intron:exon junctions or proximal promoter of the LDL-receptor gene or in the region of the apoB gene coding for the LDL-receptor binding domain was found in the remaining 14 patients. LDL-receptor activity and protein content of cultured lymphoblasts from the patients was significantly lower in cells from patients with severe rather than mild LDL-receptor mutations. Cells from four patients with no detectable defect showed reduced LDL receptor activity compared with eight normal cell lines, whereas six others had reduced LDL-receptor activity but LDL-receptor protein content within the normal range. Cells from four patients appeared to have normal LDL-receptor function. Cells from two patients with a defined defect also had LDL-receptor activity within the normal range. The findings demonstrate the problems involved in the genetic diagnosis of FH in patients.

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