What is the pathophysiology of familial LCAT deficiency?

Updated: May 21, 2021
  • Author: Vibhuti N Singh, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

This is a very rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by corneal opacities, normochromic anemia, and renal failure in young adults. Approximately 30 kindreds and a number of mutations have been reported. LCAT deficiency results in decreased esterification of cholesterol to cholesteryl esters on HDL particles. This in turn results in an accumulation of free cholesterol on lipoprotein particles and in peripheral tissues, such as the cornea, red blood cells, renal glomeruli, and vascular walls. At present, no effective method has been found to increase plasma LCAT levels; therefore, therapy is limited to (1) dietary restriction of fat to prevent the development of complications and (2) management of complications (eg, renal transplant for advanced renal disease). [14, 15]

Two kinds of genetic LCAT deficiencies have been reported. The first is complete (or classic) LCAT deficiency. Complete LCAT deficiency is manifested by anemia, increased proteinuria, and renal failure. The diagnosis can be made based on the results of LCAT quantification and cholesterol esterification activity in the plasma in certain specialized laboratories. The second type of deficiency is partial LCAT deficiency (fish-eye disease). [16, 17] Partial LCAT deficiency has known clinical sequelae. Progressive corneal opacification, very low plasma levels of HDL cholesterol (usually < 10 mg/dL), and variable hypertriglyceridemia are characteristic of partial and classic LCAT deficiency. [14]

The risk of atherosclerosis is not usually associated with an increased risk of CHD. Similarly, LCAT-deficient animal models do not demonstrate an increased prevalence of atherosclerosis.


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