The genetics of familial combined hyperlipidaemia

Martijn C. G. J. Brouwers, Marleen M. J. van Greevenbroek, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Jacqueline de Graaf, Anton F. H. Stalenhoef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Almost 40 years after the first description of familial combined hyperlipidaemia (FCHL) as a discrete entity, the genetic and metabolic basis of this prevalent disease has yet to be fully unveiled. In general, two strategies have been applied to elucidate its complex genetic background, the candidate-gene and the linkage approach, which have yielded an extensive list of genes associated with FCHL or its related traits, with a variable degree of scientific evidence. Some genes influence the FCHL phenotype in many pedigrees, whereas others are responsible for the affected state in only one kindred, thereby adding to the genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity of FCHL. This Review outlines the individual genes that have been described in FCHL and how these genes can be incorporated into the current concept of metabolic pathways resulting in FCHL: adipose tissue dysfunction, hepatic fat accumulation and overproduction, disturbed metabolism and delayed clearance of apolipoprotein-B-containing particles. Genes that affect metabolism and clearance of plasma lipoprotein particles have been most thoroughly studied. The adoption of new traits, in addition to the classic plasma lipid traits, could aid in the identification of new genes implicated in other pathways in FCHL. Moreover, systems genetic analysis, which integrates genetic polymorphisms with data on gene expression levels, lipidomics or metabolomics, will attribute functions to genetic variants in addition to revealing new genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-362
JournalNature Reviews Endocrinology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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