Mutations in the Translated Region of the Lactase Gene (LCT) Underlie Congenital Lactase Deficiency

Department of Molecular Medicine, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.
The American Journal of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 10.99). 02/2006; 78(2):339-44. DOI: 10.1086/500053
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Congenital lactase deficiency (CLD) is a severe gastrointestinal disorder characterized by watery diarrhea in infants fed with breast milk or other lactose-containing formulas. We initially assigned the CLD locus by linkage and linkage disequilibrium on 2q21 in 19 Finnish families. Here we report the molecular background of CLD via characterization of five distinct mutations in the coding region of the lactase (LCT) gene. Twenty-seven patients out of 32 (84%) were homozygous for a nonsense mutation, c.4170T-->A (Y1390X), designated "Fin(major)." Four rare mutations--two that result in a predicted frameshift and early truncation at S1666fsX1722 and S218fsX224 and two point mutations that result in substitutions Q268H and G1363S of the 1,927-aa polypeptide--confirmed the lactase mutations as causative for CLD. These findings facilitate genetic testing in clinical practice and enable genetic counseling for this severe disease. Further, our data demonstrate that, in contrast to common adult-type hypolactasia (lactose intolerance) caused by a variant of the regulatory element, the severe infancy form represents the outcome of mutations affecting the structure of the protein inactivating the enzyme.

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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to establish a retrospective evaluation and comparison of the hydrogen/methane (H2/CH4) breath test and genetic test (C/T-13910 polymorphism) results in lactose malabsorption testing. In total 263 consecutive patients with suspected lactose malabsorption were included in this study. They underwent the H2/CH4 breath test following the ingestion of 50 g lactose and were tested for the C/T-13910 polymorphism. In total 51 patients (19.4%) had a C/C-13910 genotype, indicating primary lactose malabsorption. Only 19 patients (7.2%) also had a positive H2/CH4 breath test. All in all 136 patients (51.69%) had a C/T-13910 and 76 patients (28.91%) a T/T-13910 genotype, indicating lactase persistence. Four patients (1.5%) with the C/T-13910 genotype and one patient (0.4%) with the T/T-13910 genotype had a positive H2/CH4 breath test result, indicating secondary lactose malabsorption. Cohen's Kappa measuring agreement between the two methods was 0.44. Twenty patients (7.6%) with a positive H2/CH4 peak within 60 minutes after lactose ingestion were classified as patients with lactose-dependent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). In conclusion, only moderate agreement between the breath test and the genetic test was shown. Secondary lactose malabsorption as well as preanalytical limitations of the combined H2/CH4 breath test procedure can cause discrepant results. This trial is registered with K-42-13.
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