Background: Autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH) is a rare inherited lipid disorder. In Sardinia, differently from other world regions, the mutated allele frequency is high. It is caused by mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor adaptor protein 1 gene. Fourteen different mutations have been reported so far; in Sardinia, 2 alleles (ARH1 and ARH2) explain most of the cases. Four ARH patients, all carriers of the ARH1 mutation, have been identified in mainland Italy and 2 in Sicily. Objective: The objectives of the study were to improve the molecular diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and to estimate the frequency of the ARH1 allele in 2 free-living Sicilian populations. Methods: We sequenced by targeted next-generation sequencing 20 genes related to low-density lipoprotein metabolism in 50 hypercholesterolemic subjects. Subjects from 2 free-living populations from Northern (Ventimiglia Heart Study, 848 individuals) and Southern Sicily (Zabut Zabùt Aging Project, 1717 individuals) were genotyped for ARH1 allele. Results: We identified 1 homozygous carrier of the ARH1 mutation among the 50 hypercholesterolemic outpatients. Population-based genotyping of ARH1 in 2565 subjects allowed the identification of 1 heterozygous carrier. The overall estimated allele frequency of ARH1 in Sicily was 0.0002 (0.02%). Conclusions: The identification of a new case of ARH in Sicily among 50 clinically diagnosed FH highlights the importance of next-generation sequencing analysis as tool to improve the FH diagnosis. Our results also indicate that ARH1 carrier status is present in ∼1:2500 of Sicilian inhabitants, confirming that ARH is extremely rare outside Sardinia.
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine