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Mol Genet Metab. 1998 Jun;64(2):119-25.

Different clinical forms of hereditary tyrosinemia (type I) in patients with identical genotypes.

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Pav. C.E. Marchand, Université Laval and Centre de Recherche du CHUL (CHUQ), Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada.


Hereditary tyrosinemia type I (HTI, McKusick 276700) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by deficient fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH, EC activity. HTI is characterized by progressive liver dysfunction with nodular cirrhosis often leading to hepatocellular carcinoma. Two extremes of the clinical phenotype have been described: the "acute" (severe, early onset and death) and "chronic" (delayed onset and slow course) phenotype. Allelic heterogeneity and/or mutation reversion in hepatic cells have been proposed earlier to explain the clinical heterogeneity. Two probands (one "acute," one "chronic") from the French-Canadian isolate where HTI is prevalent were studied. Both were homozygous (germ line) for the severe splice mutation IVS12 + 5g --> a; both showed liver mosaicism for FAH immunoreactivity with evidence for mutation reversion to heterozygosity (IVS12 + 5g --> a/+) in FAH-stained nodules as shown by amplification of DNA extracted from microdissected nodules. Western blot analysis of proteins from a reverted FAH-expressing nodule showed 29 +/- 3% FAH immunoreactive material as compared to an average normal liver. This was consistent with the measured FAA hydrolytic activity (25%) in this large regenerating nodule. These findings show that genotypic heterogeneity is not a sufficient explanation for clinical heterogeneity and implicate epigenetic and other factors modifying the phenotype in HTI.

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