Original Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 1, P35-45, January 2020

Genetic analysis of familial hypercholesterolemia in Asian Indians: A single-center study

Published:January 09, 2020DOI:


      • There is paucity of data on genetic studies of FH in Asian Indians.
      • 100 unrelated cases with clinical suspicion of FH classified using modified DLCN.
      • Sanger sequencing of LDLR, PCSK9, 2 fragments of ApoB, and targeted lipid panel by NGS.
      • 38 different disease-causing mutations (10 novel) identified in 47 unrelated cases.
      • Mutations identified in the study not reported before in Indians.


      Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), an autosomal codominant disorder characterized by very high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is strongly associated with premature coronary artery disease.


      Molecular landscape of FH in Asian Indians is not well studied, although this ethnic group comprises a large proportion of the world population. Knowledge of mutations in these groups is useful for identifying persons affected with FH, saving their lives, and cascade screening in their relatives.


      Potential cases of FH (n = 100) were identified by criteria adapted for the Indian population from Dutch Lipid Clinic Network criteria. Pathogenic variants were analyzed in LDLR, APOB 100 (exons 26 and 29), PCSK9, and APOE genes using Sanger sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification technique. Cases in whom there were no pathogenic variants were tested by next-generation sequencing using a targeted panel of genes.


      Thirty-eight pathogenic variants were identified in 47 of 100 unrelated probands. Of these variants, 33 were identified in LDLR, 3 in APOB, and 2 in PCSK9 genes. Ten pathogenic variants were novel. Mutations were detected in 91.4% of those subjects classified as definite, 40% as probable, and in 18.8% as possible FH cases based on modified Dutch Lipid Clinic Network criteria. A likely founder mutation in intron 10 (c.1587-1G>A) of LDLR gene was observed in 6 North Indian families. The conventional pathogenic variants in APOB and PCSK9 genes and those previously reported in LDLR gene among Asian Indians were not detected in this cohort.


      This study demonstrates genetic heterogeneity of FH in India. The variants observed were different from those described in Western populations. Next-generation sequencing technology helped identify new mutations in APOB gene, suggesting that in less-studied populations, it is better to sequence the whole gene rather than test for specific mutations.


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