Familial defective apolipoprotein (apo) B-100 together with familial hypercholesterolemia are the two common genetic conditions that cause hypercholesterolemia. Familial defective apolipoprotein B-100 is due to mutations around codon 3500 of the apo B gene. The most-characterized mutation is a G>A transition at nucleotide 10,708 that results in the substitution of arginine by glutamine at codon 3500 (Apo B Arg3500Gln). Two other mutations are caused by a C>T transition, one at nucleotide 10,800 (Apo B Arg3531Cys) and the other at nucleotide 10,707 (apo B Arg3500Trp). In the present study we describe three new Italian cases of familial defective apolipoprotein B-100 (Apo B Arg3500Gln), one from the Liguria region and two from Sicily, and the haplotype of the apo B gene co-segregating with the mutation. By screening two groups of probands, clinically diagnosed as having Familial Hypercholesterolemia (700 from mainland Italy and 305 from Sicily), the prevalence of familial defective apolipoprotein B-100 due to Arg3500Gln was found to be very low (0.28% and 0.65%, respectively). The Arg3531Cys mutation was not detected in any proband. In the three new families with Arg3500Gln mutation in the present study and in one previously described in Italy, the mutation was associated with a unique apo B haplotype, which is consistent with data previously reported for Caucasian patients [XbaI-, MspI+, EcoRI-, presence of the 5' signal peptide insertion (Ins) allele, and the 49-repeat allele of the 3'-VNTR].