Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) usually presents with severe elevations of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Recently, a family with FH was described in which several members heterozygous for a mutation in the LDL receptor gene had normal LDL cholesterol levels. Kinetic studies of LDL apolipoprotein B (apo B) were conducted to determine the metabolic differences between the normolipidemic and hypercholesterolemic FH heterozygotes in the family. Studies were performed in 14 family members including the proband (who has homozygous FH), four FH heterozygotes with high LDL levels, four FH subjects with normolipidemia, and five healthy relatives without FH. The proband had a very low fractional catabolic rate (FCR) for LDL (0.15 pool/day). All the FH and non-FH subjects studied, excluding the FH homozygote, had higher than expected FCRs for LDL. The average FCRs for LDL of hypercholesterolemic and normocholesterolemic subjects were not significantly different (0.39±0.06 versus 0.37±0.02 pool/day), and these values were 70-80% of those in unaffected relatives. Compared with hypercholesterolemic FH heterozygotes, normolipidemic heterozygotes had much lower input rates for LDL (17.1±author query macros2.6 versus 8.7±0.9 pools/day, respectively). These low input rates, together with the higher than usual FCRs for LDL, are responsible for the normal concentrations of LDL cholesterol in some of the FH heterozygotes. The low input of LDL could be due to either a decreased secretion of apo B-containing lipoproteins or an enhanced clearance of LDL precursor lipoproteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine