NORD gratefully acknowledges John JP Kastelein, MD, PhD, Department of Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Familial lipoprotein lipase (LPL) deficiency is a rare genetic metabolic disorder characterized by a deficiency of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase. Deficiency of this enzyme prevents affected individuals from properly digesting certain fats and results in massive accumulation of fatty droplets called chylomicrons in the circulation (chylomicronemia) and consequently also an increase of the plasma concentration of fatty substances called triglycerides. Affected individuals often experience episodes of abdominal pain, acute recurrent inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), abnormal enlargement of the liver and/or spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), and the development of skin lesions known as eruptive xanthomas. Familial LPL deficiency is caused by mutations in the lipoprotein lipase (LPL) gene and is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Recently, mutations in other genes besides LPL were found to cause a clinical picture similar to LPL deficiency.
Chylomicronemia syndrome is a general term for the symptoms that develop due to the accumulation of chylomicrons in the plasma. There are many causes of chylomicronemia syndrome. The term familial chylomicronemia is sometimes used synonymously with familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency. However, there are different causes of familial chylomicronemia. In the past, familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency has also been called hyperlipoproteinemia type I. Familial LPL deficiency was first described in the medical literature in 1932 by Drs. Burger and Grutz.
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