29 Jun Screening of ABCG5 and ABCG8 Genes for Sitosterolemia in a Familial Hypercholesterolemia Cascade Screening Program
Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine, <a href=»https://www.ahajournals.org/toc/circgen/15/3″>Volume 15, Issue 3</a>, Page e003390, June 1, 2022.
Background:Sitosterolemia is a rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by homozygous or compound heterozygous variants inABCG5/ABCG8. The disease is characterized by increased plasma plant sterols. Small case series suggest that patients with sitosterolemia have wide phenotypic heterogeneity with great variability on either plasma cholesterol levels or development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The present study aims to characterize the prevalence and clinical features of sitosterolemia participating in a familial hypercholesterolemia genetic cascade screening program.Methods:From 443 familial hypercholesterolemia index cases, 260 were negative for familial hypercholesterolemia genes and were sequenced for theABCG5/8genes. Clinical and laboratory characteristics of affected individuals were determined.Results:Eight (3.1%) index cases were found to be homozygous or compound heterozygous variant forABCG5/ABCG8genes, confirming the genetic diagnosis of sitosterolemia. Screening their relatives led to the identification of 6 additional confirmed sitosterolemia cases (3 homozygous and 3 compound heterozygous variant) and 18 carriers (heterozygous). The mean age of identified sitosterolemia cases (n=14) was 37.2±19.8 years, 50% were females, and 78.6% (all adults) presented either clinical or subclinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. As expected, affected individuals presented elevated plasma plant sterol levels (mean β-Sitosterol and campesterol, respectively, 160.3±107.1 and 32.0±19.6 µg/mL) and the highest plasma LDL (low-density lipoprotein)-cholesterol was 269.0±120.0 mg/dL (range: 122–521 mg/dL). LDL-cholesterol mean reduction with therapy among cases was 65%. Eighty-three percent (83%) of identified sitosterolemia patients presented hematologic abnormalities.Conclusions:Testing genes associated with sitosterolemia in the molecular routine workflow of a familial hypercholesterolemia cascade screening program allowed the precise diagnosis of sitosterolemia in a substantial number of patients with varying LDL-C levels and high incidence of early atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and hematologic abnormalities.