Although amyloidogenic transthyretin (ATTR) mutations are common in several populations, such as black Americans, the small number of diagnosed patients homozygous for TTR amyloid and the short follow up in most studies has until now prevented an analysis of their phenotype. In Sweden, nine homozygous patients from eight families carrying the ATTR mutation Val30Met, which gives rise to fatal neuropathic amyloidosis (FAP), have been identified and have now been followed for up to 15 years. This has enabled an analysis of the phenotype of homozygous patients. Genetic testing and detection of amyloid deposits in the vitreous body or in intestinal or skin biopsies confirmed the diagnosis in all patients. The patients’ symptoms were obtained from medical records. For comparison, we used a group of 35 heterozygous non-transplanted patients with FAP (18 men and 17 women), who had been evaluated at the Department of Medicine, Umeå University Hospital before their deaths. Vitreous amyloidosis was the most prevalent symptom in the homozygous group, and in two patients it was the only manifestation of the disease during their lifetime. The age at onset was not different from that of heterozygous patients, and their survival tended not to be shorter but actually longer than for heterozygotes. Homozygosity for the mutation associated with FAP, ATTR Val30Met, does not implicate a more severe phenotype for Swedish patients. The most common symptom was vitreous opacity, which may be the only manifestation of the disease. These findings point to the possibilities of different pathways for amyloid formation, or the presence of hitherto unknown genes operating in amyloid formation.
- ATTR, amyloidogenic transthyretin
- FAP, fatal neuropathic amyloidosis
- TTR, transthyretin
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Published Online First 1 June 2005
Competing interests: none declared
Ethics: The study was conducted according to the principles of the Helsinki Declaration.