JLR Patient-Oriented and Epidemiological Research
- Severe hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is a relatively common form of dyslipidemia with a complex pathophysiology and serious health complications. HTG can develop in the presence of rare genetic factors disrupting genes involved in the triglyceride (TG) metabolic pathway, including large-scale copy-number variants (CNVs). Improvements in next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatic analyses have better allowed assessment of CNVs as possible causes of or contributors to severe HTG. We screened targeted sequencing data of 632 patients with severe HTG and identified partial deletions of the LPL gene, encoding the central enzyme involved in the metabolism of TG-rich lipoproteins, in four individuals (0.63%).
- Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a heritable condition of severely elevated LDL cholesterol, caused predominantly by autosomal codominant mutations in the LDL receptor gene (LDLR). In providing a molecular diagnosis for FH, the current procedure often includes targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels for the detection of small-scale DNA variants, followed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) in LDLR for the detection of whole-exon copy number variants (CNVs). The latter is essential because ∼10% of FH cases are attributed to CNVs in LDLR; accounting for them decreases false negative findings.
- Recent cell culture and animal studies have suggested that expression of human apo C-III in the liver has a profound impact on the triacylglycerol (TAG)-rich VLDL1 production under lipid-rich conditions. The apoC-III Gln38Lys variant was identified in subjects of Mexican origin with moderate hypertriglyceridemia. We postulated that Gln38Lys (C3QK), being a gain-of-function mutation, promotes hepatic VLDL1 assembly/secretion. To test this hypothesis, we expressed C3QK in McA-RH7777 cells and apoc3-null mice to contrast its effect with WT apoC-III (C3WT).
- HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) remains a superior biochemical predictor of CVD risk, but its genetic basis is incompletely defined. In patients with extreme HDL-C concentrations, we concurrently evaluated the contributions of multiple large- and small-effect genetic variants. In a discovery cohort of 255 unrelated lipid clinic patients with extreme HDL-C levels, we used a targeted next-generation sequencing panel to evaluate rare variants in known HDL metabolism genes, simultaneously with common variants bundled into a polygenic trait score.