Genetic and biochemical analyses in dyslipidemic patients undergoing LDL apheresis



Objective: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) can be due to mutations in LDLR, PCSK9, and APOB. In phenotypically defined patients, a subset remains unresponsive to lipid-lowering therapies and requires low density-lipoprotein (LDL) apheresis treatment. In this pilot study, we examined the genotype/phenotype relationship in patients with dyslipidemia undergoing routine LDL apheresis. Design: LDLR, APOB, and PCKS9 were analyzed for disease-causing mutations in seven patients undergoing routine LDL apheresis. Plasma and serum specimens were collected pre- and post-apheresis and analyzed for lipid concentrations, Lp(a) cholesterol, and lipoprotein particle concentrations (via NMR). Results: We found that four patients harbored LDLR mutations and of these, three presented with xanthomas. While similar reductions in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B, and LDL particles (LDL-P) were observed following apheresis in all patients, lipid profile analysis revealed the LDLR mutation-positive cohort had a more pro-atherogenic profile (higher LDL-C, apolipoprotein B, LDL-P, and small LDL-P) pre-apheresis. Conclusion: Our data show that not all clinically diagnosed FH patients who require routine apheresis have genetically defined disease. In our small cohort, those with LDLR mutations had a more proatherogenic phenotype than those without identifiable mutations. This pilot cohort suggests that patients receiving the maximum lipid lowering therapy could be further stratified, based on genetic make-up, to optimize treatment. J. Clin. Apheresis 29:256–265, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.