Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is the most common form of autosomal-dominant hypercholesterolemia, and is caused by mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene. Heterozygous FH is characterized by elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and early-onset cardiovascular disease, whereas homozygous FH results in more severe LDL cholesterol elevation with death by 20 years of age. We present here the case of an African-American female FH patient presenting with a myocardial infarction at the age of 48, recurrent angina pectoris and numerous coronary artery stents. Her pretreated LDL cholesterol levels were more typical of a homozygous FH pattern and she was resistant to conventional lipid-lowering treatment, yet her other clinical parameters were not necessarily consistent with homozygous FH. Genetic testing revealed two LDLR variants on the same chromosome: one a novel missense mutation in exon 14 (Cys681Gly) and the other a promoter variant (IVS1-217C>T) previously shown to result in increased LDLR transcription. Disease-associated PCSK9 or APOB mutations were not identified in this individual. Overall, her genetic and clinical profile suggests that enhanced expression of the mutant LDLR allele resulted in a severe phenotype with characteristics of both heterozygous and homozygous FH.
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