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%).
- Copy-number variations (CNVs) have been studied in the context of familial hypercholesterolemia but have not yet been evaluated in patients with extreme levels of HDL cholesterol. We evaluated targeted, next-generation sequencing data from patients with very low levels of HDL cholesterol (i.e., hypoalphalipoproteinemia) with the VarSeq-CNV® caller algorithm to screen for CNVs that disrupted the ABCA1, LCAT, or APOA1 genes. In four individuals, we found three unique deletions in ABCA1: a heterozygous deletion of exon 4, a heterozygous deletion that spanned exons 8 to 31, and a heterozygous deletion of the entire ABCA1 gene.
- 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.
- 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.