OBJECTIVE - To elucidate the long-term effects of liver transplantation (LT) on familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP).
METHODS - We investigated clinicopathological and biochemical characteristics of systemic tissues in four autopsied cases of FAP patients surviving more than 10 years after LT and seven autopsied cases without LT. For analysing the truncated form of transthyretin (TTR) in amyloid, we also employed specimens from additional 18 FAP patients.
RESULTS - Several tissue sites such as the heart, tongue and spinal cord had moderate-to-severe amyloid deposits but other tissues showed no or mild amyloid deposition. Those findings seemed similar to those observed in senile systemic amyloidosis (SSA), a sporadic amyloidosis caused by wild-type (WT) TTR. Also, amyloid deposits in systemic tissue sites except for the spinal cord in patients after LT derived mostly from WT TTR secreted from the normal liver grafts. In addition, in non-transplantation patients, proportions of WT TTR seemed to be relatively high in those tissue sites in which patients after LT had severe amyloid deposition, which suggests that WT TTR tends to form amyloid in those tissue sites. Finally, although the truncation of TTR in amyloid deposits did not depend on undergoing LT, we elucidated the truncation of TTR occurred predominantly in patients from non-endemic areas of Japan, where FAP amyloidogenic TTR V30M patients are late onset and low penetrance, compared with patients from an endemic area of Japan.
CONCLUSIONS - FAP may shift to systemic WT TTR amyloid formation after LT, which seems to be similar to the process in SSA. The truncation of TTR in amyloid deposits may depend on some genetic or environmental factors other than undergoing LT.
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