Familial amyloidosis with polyneuropathy studies of genetic factors modifying the phenotype of the disease
Sammanfattning: Background. Familial Amyloidosis with Polyneuropathy (FAP) is an autosomal dominantly inherited systemic amyloid disease. The disease is caused by mutations in the transthyretin (TTR) gene, where close to 100 different amyloidogenic mutations have been identified. FAP is found worldwide, but endemic areas with a high frequency of patients are found in Portugal, Japan and northern Sweden. Cases from these endemic areas all share the same TTR c.148G>A, p.V50M ("V30M") mutation, but the phenotype of the disease varies between the areas, and also within the endemic areas. The mean onset of the disease is two decades earlier in Portugal and Japan compared to Sweden, but late as well as early age at onset cases occur within all the populations. Interestingly, the different populations all display a maternal anticipation, where an earlier onset is observed for those individuals who inherit the trait from their mother. Since substantial variation in the phenotype is observed for different populations, epigenetic/genetic and/or environmental factors must exert a significant impact on the penetrance of the disease. Amyloid formation is caused by conformational changes of proteins, which facilitates their assembly into fibrils, amyloid. Oxidative stress can mediate conformational changes of proteins and since the mitochondria regulate oxidative processes within the cell, mitochondrial function may affect amyloid formation. The mitochondrial DNA is a non-nuclear DNA, which is entirely maternally inherited, and therefore could be related to the observed maternal anticipation of the disease. In addition, differences within the surrounding regions of the TTR gene may have an impact on the transcription of the gene and thereby on the expression of the different alleles.Material and methods. DNA from early and late onset V30M cases and from non-carriers (the latter utilised as controls) from Swedish, French, Japanese and Portuguese populations were analysed. In addition, DNA from healthy Swedish V30M carriers was analysed. Conventional analytical methods were employed, such as PCR, sequencing and genotyping. Conventional statistical methods used were t-test, Chi-squared test and maximum likelihood.Results. The study of V30M carrier frequency in two counties (Lycksele and Skellefteå) within the Swedish endemic area revealed a carrier frequency of 2.14% and 2.54%, respectively. The mitochondrial haplogroup analysis showed that in populations with generally late onset (French and Swedish), the haplogroup distribution of late onset cases resembled that of the controls derived from the same area, whereas haplogroup distribution for early onset patients was significantly different. The most pronounced difference was for the rare haplogroup K, of which early onset cases had a higher frequency than the controls. Analysis of the Portuguese population, with predominantly early onset, showed that haplogroup distribution for early onset cases were similar to the Portuguese control group, which had a different distribution than the Swedish control group. By analysis of pedigrees from Swedish and Portuguese patients it could be shown that mitochondrial genetic variation entirely could explain maternal anticipation in the Portuguese patients, whereas for Swedish patients, an additional parent of origin effect is present. Our analysis of the TTR gene disclosed a polymorphism (rs62093482) in the 3'UTR region of the Swedish patients. This polymorphism was found in all V30M carriers, irrespective of symptoms. In addition, homozygous TTR V30M carriers were homozygous also for the polymorphism. Since Swedish patients share a common founder this polymorphism thus is localised on the V30M allele. This polymorphism was found in only 4% of the Swedish controls. French controls showed the same frequency, but none of the French V30M patients displayed the polymorphism. In the Japanese population the polymorphism was not present at all. Interestingly, this polymorphism generates a potential binding site for microRNA and thereby possibly could down-regulate the expression of the mutated TTR allele.Conclusions. The carrier frequency in the endemic area is remarkably high, above 2% in the Lycksele and Skellefteå areas. The prevailing haplogroup distributions in the different endemic areas are consistent between the general population and the patient group with the predominant phenotype of that area. Mitochondrial genetic differences may explain maternal anticipation in Portuguese patients, and have an influence in Swedish patients. A polymorphism in the 3'UTR regulatory region of the mutated TTR allele is found in all Swedish patients. This polymorphism may down-regulate TTR V30M expression and thereby contribute to the late onset of the disease noted in the Swedish population.
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