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Elevated levels of cholesterol synthesis are reported for several young children with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HFH) and are considered to contribute directly to their hypercholesterolemia. In contrast, increased cholesterol production has not previously been found in adult patients with HFH. Using the fecal steroid balance technique, we studied rates of cholesterol and bile acid synthesis in a 24-yr-old man who had severe hypercholesterolemia typical of HFH and who lacked skin fibroblast low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor activity. On an average diet (45% carbohydrate, 40% fat, 15% protein) mean +/- SEM cholesterol (24.8 +/- 1.4 mg/kg per d) and bile acid (11.1 +/- 1.6 mg/kg per d) excretion were approximately threefold higher than normal. When an isocaloric high carbohydrate, low fat diet (90.5% glucose oligosaccharides, 1.3% safflower oil, 8.2% crystalline amino acids was substituted, mean cholesterol (13.0 +/- 0.5 mg/kg per d) and bile acid (8.6 +/- 0.4 mg/kg per d) fell markedly. The decline in fecal steroid excretion was accompanied by modest reductions in plasma total and LDL cholesterol concentrations and by a softening of cutaneous xanthomata. Although the patient phenotypically and biochemically resembled the HFH state, his family pedigree was not noteable for hypercholesterolemia. While the patient's father had premature cardiovascular disease, his mother had no evidence of heart disease, had normal plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels, and had normal fibroblast LDL receptor activity. Likewise, the plasma cholesterol levels of three other members of the patient's family were normal. Despite the unusual genotypic background of this individual, however, the fecal balance data shows that elevated cholesterol and bile acid synthesis may occur in adult, as well as juvenile, patients with HFH and may be responsive to dietary control.
Erythrocytes from patients with various disorders of lipoprotein metabolism have been found to have abnormal morphology. We report morphologic abnormalities of erythrocytes from two patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HFH), in which knisocytes, stomatocytes and crenated cells were observed. The membrane lipid and phospholipid fatty acid composition of HFH erythrocytes was not significantly different from controls. HFH erythrocytes incubated in HFH patient plasma and a lipoprotein-rich fraction of HFH plasma appeared morphologically similar to erythrocytes from HFH patients. These studies support the concept that serum lipids exert an important role in the regulation of erythrocyte morphology in the normal state, as well as in patients with disorders of lipoprotein metabolism.
The gene encoding the alpha subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin contains at least two polymorphic sites in its 3' flanking region detected by restriction enzymes HindIII and EcoRI. We used these polymorphic sites as markers of tissue genotype in normal placenta, hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma, and peripheral leukocytes. As expected, inheritance patterns of most hydatidiform moles showed only a paternal genetic contribution. However, one uncommon DNA polymorphism pattern, homozygosity for the absence of the EcoRI site and the presence of the HindIII site, predominated in choriocarcinoma. Thus, our results suggest that moles which have this uncommon polymorphism pattern appear particularly likely to develop into choriocarcinoma.
During the course of studies to characterize mutations of the CYP17 gene that cause the 17 alpha-hydroxylase-deficient form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia we have discovered two ostensibly unrelated Mennonite families in which affected individuals are homozygous for the same mutation. The defect is a four-base duplication in exon 8 of the CYP17 gene, which alters the reading frame encoding the C-terminal 26 amino acids of cytochrome P450(17 alpha).
Plasma exchange (PE) is considered the most effective nonsurgical treatment modality for the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). However, the concomitant reduction of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and the necessity and cost of using blood products are major drawbacks of PE. We studied the effects of selective LDL reduction using monoclonal anti-LDL antibodies in an investigational immunoadsorption (IA) system. Results were compared with the effects of PE. During the study period, two homozygous FH patients with baseline cholesterol levels greater than 10.34 mmol/L (400 mg/dL) were treated sequentially for a combined total of 37 IA treatments and the results were compared with a total of 19 sequential PE treatments. The IA system consisted of on-line plasma processing over two columns of monoclonal anti-LDL antibodies in alternating cycles of column adsorption and regeneration. No replacement solution was needed. PE was performed with a centrifugal plasma separator using 5% albumin as replacement solution. Results showed that the reduction of lipids with IA was 43% +/- 0.9% for cholesterol, 51% +/- 1.0% for LDL, and 19% +/- 1.3% for HDL, resulting in a reduction in the LDL to HDL ratio of 41% +/- 1.7%. Compared with IA, percent reduction by PE was significantly greater (P less than 0.001) for all lipids, but was nonselective (cholesterol, 74% +/- 1.0%; LDL, 77% +/- 1.2%; HDL, 73% +/- 2.7%), and therefore the reduction of the LDL to HDL ratio was only 6% +/- 3.6%, which was significantly less than for IA (P less than 0.001). Pretreatment HDL concentration appeared to increase with repetitive IA treatment, but decreased back to prestudy levels with repetitive PE.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)