Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that is associated with abnormal sweat electrolytes, sino-pulmonary disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and male infertility. Insights into genotype/phenotype relations have recently been gained in this disorder. The strongest relationship exists between 'severe' mutations in the gene that encodes the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) and pancreatic insufficiency. The relationship between 'mild' mutations, associated with residual CFTR function, and expression of disease is less precise. Atypical 'mild' mutations in the CFTR gene have been linked to late-onset pulmonary disease, congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens, and idiopathic pancreatitis. Less commonly, sinusitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and possibly even asthma may also be associated with mutations in the CFTR gene, but those syndromes predominantly reflect non-CFTR gene modifiers and environmental influences.
asthma; cystic fibrosis (CF); cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR); mutations; pancreatitis; phenotype
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common inherited disorder of childhood. The diagnosis of CF has traditionally been based on clinical features with confirmatory evidence by sweat electrolyte analysis. Since 1989 it has been possible to also use gene mutation analysis to aid the diagnosis. Cloning of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene has advanced our understanding of CF, in particular the molecular basis of an expanded CF phenotype. However, because there are over 1000 mutations and 200 polymorphisms, many without recognised effects on CFTR, the molecular diagnosis can be troublesome. This has necessitated measurement of CFTR function with renewed interest in the sweat test. This review provides an overview of the clinical features of CF, the diagnosis and complex genetics. We provide a detailed discussion of the structure and function of CFTR and the classification of CFTR mutations. Sweat electrolyte analysis is discussed, from the physiology of sweating to the rigours of a properly performed sweat test and its interpretation. With this information it is possible to understand the relevance of the sweat test in the genomic era.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common genetic diseases in the Caucasian population and is characterized by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and elevation of sodium and chloride concentrations in the sweat and infertility in men. The disease is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, which encodes a protein that functions as chloride channel at the apical membrane of different epithelia. Owing to the high genotypic and phenotypic disease heterogeneity, effects and consequences of the majority of the CFTR mutations have not yet been studied. Recently, the frameshift mutation 3905insT was identified as the second most frequent mutation in the Swiss population and found to be associated with a severe phenotype. The frameshift mutation produces a premature termination codon (PTC) in exon 20, and transcripts bearing this PTC are potential targets for degradation through nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) and/or for exon skipping through nonsense-associated alternative splicing (NAS). Using RT–PCR analysis in lymphocytes and different tissue types from patients carrying the mutation, we showed that the PTC introduced by the mutation does neither elicit a degradation of the mRNA through NMD nor an alternative splicing through NAS. Moreover, immunocytochemical analysis in nasal epithelial cells revealed a significantly reduced amount of CFTR at the apical membrane providing a possible molecular explanation for the more severe phenotype observed in F508del/3905insT compound heterozygotes compared with F508del homozygotes. However, further experiments are needed to elucidate the fate of the 3905insT CFTR in the cell after its biosynthesis.
cystic fibrosis; CFTR; nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD); nonsense-associated alternative splicing (NAS); genotype/phenotype correlation
The Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene encodes a cAMP-regulated chloride channel that is important in controlling the exchange of fluid and electrolytes across epithelial cells. Mutation of CFTR can lead to Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the most common lethal genetic disease in Caucasians. CF is a systemic illness with multiple organ systems affected including pulmonary, gastrointestinal, pancreatic, immune, endocrine and reproductive systems. To understand the role of CFTR in the various tissues in which it is expressed, we generated a murine conditional null allele of Cftr (Cftrfl10) in which loxP sites were inserted around exon 10 of the Cftr gene. The Cftr conditional null allele was validated by generating constitutive Cftr null (CftrΔ10) mice using the protamine-cre system. The CftrΔ10/Δ10 mice displayed almost identical phenotypes to previously published CF mouse models, including poor growth, decreased survival, intestinal obstruction and loss of Cftr function as assessed by electrophysiology measurements on gut and nasal epithelium. Mice containing the conditional null Cftr allele will be useful in future studies to understand the role of Cftr in specific tissues and developmental time points and lead to a better understanding of CF disease.
There is great heterogeneity in the clinical manifestations of cystic fibrosis (CF). Some patients may have all the classical manifestations of CF from infancy and have a relatively poor prognosis, while others have much milder or even atypical disease manifestations and still carry mutations on each of the CFTR genes. It is important to distinguish between these categories of patients. The European Diagnostic Working Group proposes the following terminology. Patients are diagnosed with classic or typical CF if they have one or more phenotypic characteristics and a sweat chloride concentration of >60 mmol/l. The vast majority of CF patients fall into this category. Usually one established mutation causing CF can be identified on each CFTR gene. Patients with classic CF can have exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or pancreatic sufficiency. The disease can have a severe course with rapid progression of symptoms or a milder course with very little deterioration over time. Patients with non‐classic or atypical CF have a CF phenotype in at least one organ system and a normal (<30 mmol/l) or borderline (30–60 mmol/l) sweat chloride level. In these patients confirmation of the diagnosis of CF requires detection of one disease causing mutation on each CFTR gene or direct quantification of CFTR dysfunction by nasal potential difference measurement. Non‐classic CF includes patients with multiorgan or single organ involvement. Most of these patients have exocrine pancreatic sufficiency and milder lung disease. Algorithms for a structured diagnostic process are proposed.
cystic fibrosis; lung disease; diagnostic algorithms; CFTR gene; sweat test
Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) manifest a multisystem disease due to deleterious mutations in each gene encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). However, the role of dysfunctional CFTR is uncertain in individuals with mild forms of CF (ie, pancreatic sufficiency) and mutation in only one CFTR gene.
Eleven pancreatic sufficient (PS) CF patients with only one CFTR mutation identified after mutation screening (three patients), mutation scanning (four patients) or DNA sequencing (four patients) were studied. Bi-directional sequencing of the coding region of CFTR was performed in patients who had mutation screening or scanning. If a second CFTR mutation was not identified, CFTR mRNA transcripts from nasal epithelial cells were analysed to determine if any PS-CF patients harboured a second CFTR mutation that altered RNA expression.
Sequencing of the coding regions of CFTR identified a second deleterious mutation in five of the seven patients who previously had mutation screening or mutation scanning. Five of the remaining six patients with only one deleterious mutation identified in the coding region of one CFTR gene had a pathologic reduction in the amount of RNA transcribed from their other CFTR gene (8.4–16% of wild type).
These results show that sequencing of the coding region of CFTR followed by analysis of CFTR transcription could be a useful diagnostic approach to confirm that patients with mild forms of CF harbour deleterious alterations in both CFTR genes.
Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator-related disorders encompass a disease spectrum from focal male reproductive tract involvement in congenital absence of the vas deferens to multiorgan involvement in classic cystic fibrosis. The reproductive, gastrointestinal, and exocrine manifestations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator deficiency are correlated with CFTR genotype, whereas the respiratory manifestations that are the main cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis are less predictable. Molecular genetic testing of CFTR has led to new diagnostic strategies and will enable targeting of molecular therapies now in development. Older diagnostic methods that measure sweat chloride and nasal potential difference nonetheless remain important because of their sensitivity and specificity. In addition, the measurement of immunoreactive trypsinogen and the genotyping of CFTR alleles are key to newborn screening programs because of low cost. The multiorgan nature of cystic fibrosis leads to a heavy burden of care, thus therapeutic regimens are tailored to the specific manifestations present in each patient. The variability of cystic fibrosis lung disease and the variable expressivity of mild CFTR alleles complicate genetic counseling for this autosomal recessive disorder. Widespread implementation of newborn screening programs among populations with significant cystic fibrosis mutation carrier frequencies is expected to result in increasing demands on genetic counseling resources.
cystic fibrosis; congenital absence of vas deferens; CFTR; diagnostic testing; genetic counseling
To determine which features of incomplete or “nonclassic” forms of cystic fibrosis (CF) are associated with deleterious CF transmembrane conductance regulator gene (CFTR) mutations, and to explore other etiologies for features not associated with deleterious CFTR mutations.
Clinical features were compared between 57 patients with deleterious mutations in each CFTR and 63 with no deleterious mutations. The Shwachman Bodian Diamond syndrome gene (SBDS) was sequenced to search for mutations in patients with no deleterious CFTR mutations and steatorrhea to determine if any had unrecognized Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS).
The presence of a common CF-causing mutation, absence of the vas deferens, and Pseudomona aeruginosa in the sputum correlated with the presence of two deleterious CFTR mutations, whereas sweat chloride concentration, diagnostic criteria for CF, and steatorrhea did not. However, sweat chloride concentration correlated with CFTR mutation status in patients infected with P aeruginosa. One patient had disease-causing mutations in each SBDS.
Presence of a common CF-causing mutation, absence of the vas deferens and/or P aeruginosa infection in a patient with features of nonclassic CF are predictive of deleterious mutations in each CFTR, whereas steatorrhea in the same context is likely to have etiologies other than CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) dysfunction.
BACKGROUND: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a syndrome caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene. Despite advances in our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of CF, the link between CFTR gene mutations and the pathogenesis of CF lung disease remains poorly defined. CFTR has been assigned a number of putative functions that may contribute to innate airway defense, including the regulation of adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) release into the extracellular environment. Because extracellular ATP and uridine 5'-triphosphate (UTP) may regulate airway mucociliary clearance via interaction with luminal P2Y2 receptors, the loss of CFTR-mediated nucleotide release could explain the defect in CF airway defense. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We tested the physiologic importance of CFTR-mediated nucleotide release in vivo by directly measuring levels of ATP and UTP in nasal airway surface liquid from normal and CF subjects. Because these basal nucleotide levels reflect the net activities of nucleotide release and metabolic pathways, we also measured constitutive rates of nucleotide release and metabolism on well-differentiated normal and CF airway cultures in vitro. The measurement of ATP release rates were paralleled by in vivo studies employing continuous nasal perfusion in normal and CF subjects. Finally, the regulation of ATP release by isoproterenol and methacholine-stimulated submucosal gland secretion was tested. RESULTS: These studies revealed that steady-state ATP and UTP levels were similar in normal (470 +/- 131 nM and 37 +/- 7 nM, respectively) and CF (911 +/- 199 nM and 33 +/- 12 nM, respectively) subjects. The rates of both ATP release and metabolism were also similar in normal and CF airway epithelia both in vitro and in vivo. Airway submucosal glands did not secrete nucleotides, but rather, secreted a soluble nucleotidase in response to cholinergic stimuli. CONCLUSION: The concentration of ATP in airway surface liquid is in a range that is relevant for the activation of airway nucleotide receptors. However, despite this finding that suggests endogenous nucleotides may be important for the regulation of mucociliary clearance, our data do not support a role for CFTR in regulating extracellular nucleotide concentrations on airway surfaces.
Cystic fibrosis is a common autosomal recessive disorder usually found in population of white Caucasian descent. Now it is well documented the presence of CF disease in India with the advancement of laboratory testing. As once it was thought non existence of this disease in our population. Most of the phenotype of CF disease was in accordance of western population. Genetic analysis of CFTR gene in Indian CF patients revealed that most common mutation was delta F508 mutation. However, it was less than Caucasian population. CFTR mutations are also a causative factor in the pathogenesis of male infertility due to obstructive azoospermia. There are two most common mutation viz. IVS8-T5 and delta F508 which are responsible for congenital absence of vas deferens in male infertility patients. Elevated levels of sweat chloride at two occasions along with the presence of two mutations in CFTR gene was gold standard method for diagnosis of CF disease. It is noteworthy here that due to magnitude of Indian population, the total CF disease load would be more than many European countries. Clinical data demonstrate the prevalence of both classical and genetic form of CF in India.
Cystic fibrosis; CFTR; Delta F508; Congenital absence of vas deferens (CAVD)
Denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) has been described recently as a method for screening DNA samples for single nucleotide polymorphisms and inherited mutations. Thirty-eight DNAs, 22 of which were heterozygous for previously characterized rearranged transforming gene (RET) or cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene (CFTR) mutations or polymorphisms, were examined using DHPLC analysis to assess the accuracy of this scanning method. Ninety-one per cent (20/22) of the PCR amplicons from specimens with heterozygous RET or CFTR sequence showed elution profiles distinct from corresponding homozygous normal patterns; whether the profiles for two amplicons containing heterozygous RET sequence were distinct from homozygous cases was equivocal. To investigate the usefulness of this method for detecting mutations in tumor DNAs, each of the phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten gene (PTEN) exons were examined for mutations in 63 malignant gliomas. Seventeen PTEN PCR products from this series of brain tumors showed elution profiles indicating sample heterozygosity and in each instance conventional sequencing confirmed the presence of a mutation. PTEN amplicons containing exons 1, 3 and 5 were sequenced for each of the 63 tumor DNAs to determine whether any mutations may have escaped DHPLC detection, and this analysis identified one such alteration in addition to the eight mutations that DHPLC had revealed. In total, DHPLC identified 37 of 40 (92.5%) PCR products containing defined sequence variation and no alterations were indicated among 196 amplicons containing homozygous normal sequence.
Despite the identification of 1,000 mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene product CFTR, there remains discordance between CFTR genotype and lung disease phenotype. The study of CFTR, therefore, has expanded beyond its chloride channel activity into other possible functions, such as its role as a regulator of gene expression. Findings indicate that CFTR plays a role in the expression of RANTES in airway epithelia. RANTES is a chemokine that has been implicated in the regulation of mucosal immunity and the pathogenesis of airway inflammatory diseases. Results demonstrate that CFTR triggers RANTES expression via a mechanism that is independent of CFTR's chloride channel activity. Neither pharmacological inhibition of CFTR nor activation of alternative chloride channels, including hClC-2, modulated RANTES expression. Through the use of CFTR disease-associated and truncation mutants, experiments suggest that CFTR-mediated transcription factor activation and RANTES expression require (i) insertion of CFTR into the plasma membrane and (ii) an intact CFTR C-terminal PDZ-interacting domain. Expression of constructs encoding wild-type or dominant-negative forms of the PDZ-binding protein EBP50 suggests that EBP50 may be involved in CFTR-dependent RANTES expression. Together, these data suggest that CFTR modulates gene expression in airway epithelial cells while located in a macromolecular signaling complex at the plasma membrane.
Background: Since the CFTR gene was cloned, more than 1000 mutations have been identified. To date, a clear relationship has not been established between genotype and the progression of lung damage. A study was undertaken of the relationship between genotype, progression of lung disease, and survival in adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Methods: A prospective cohort of adult patients with CF and two CFTR mutations followed up in an adult cystic fibrosis unit was analysed. Patients were classified according to functional effects of classes of CFTR mutations and were grouped based on the CFTR molecular position on the epithelial cell surface (I–II/I–II, I–II/III–V). Spirometric values, progression of lung disease, probability of survival, and clinical characteristics were analysed between groups.
Results: Seventy four patients were included in the study. Patients with genotype I–II/I–II had significantly lower current spirometric values (p<0.001), greater loss of pulmonary function (p<0.04), a higher proportion of end-stage lung disease (p<0.001), a higher risk of suffering from moderate to severe lung disease (odds ratio 7.12 (95% CI 1.3 to 40.5)) and a lower probability of survival than patients with genotype I–II/III, I–II/IV and I–II/V (p<0.001).
Conclusions: The presence of class I or II mutations on both chromosomes is associated with worse respiratory disease and a lower probability of survival.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the gene encoding for the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, which acts as a chloride channel after activation by cyclic AMP (cAMP). Newborn screening programs for CF usually consist of an immunoreactive trypsinogen (IRT) assay, followed when IRT is elevated by testing for a panel of CF-causing mutations. Some children, however, may have persistent hypertrypsinogenemia, only one or no identified CFTR gene mutation, and sweat chloride concentrations close to normal values. In vivo demonstration of abnormal CFTR protein function would be an important diagnostic aid in this situation. Measurements of transepithelial nasal potential differences (NPD) in adults accurately characterize CFTR-related ion transport. The aim of the present study is to establish reference values for NPD measurements for healthy children and those with CF aged 3 months to 3 years, the age range of most difficult-to-diagnose patients with suspected CF. The ultimate goal of our study is to validate NPD testing as a diagnostic tool for children with borderline results in neonatal screening.
We adapted the standard NPD protocol for young children, designed a special catheter for them, used a slower perfusion rate, and shortened the protocol to include only measurement of basal PD, transepithelial sodium (Na+) transport in response to the Na+ channel inhibitor amiloride, and CFTR-mediated chloride (Cl-) secretion in response to isoproterenol, a β-agonist in a Cl- free solution.
The study will include 20 children with CF and 20 healthy control children. CF children will be included only if they carry 2 CF-causing mutations in the CFTR gene or have sweat chloride concentrations > 60 mEq/L or both. The healthy children will be recruited among the siblings of the CF patients, after verification that they do not carry the familial mutation.
A preliminary study of 3 adult control subjects and 4 children older than 12 years with CF verified that the new protocol was well tolerated and produced NPD measurements that did not differ significantly from those obtained with the standard protocol. This preliminary study will provide a basis for interpreting NPD measurements in patients with suspected CF after neonatal screening. Earlier definitive diagnosis should alleviate parental distress and allow earlier therapeutic intervention and genetic counseling.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) gene mutations. We ascertained five patients with a novel complex CFTR allele, with two mutations, H939R and H949L, inherited in cis in the same exon of CFTR gene, and one different mutation per patient inherited in trans in a wide population of 289 Caucasian CF subjects from South Italy. The genotype-phenotype relationship in patients bearing this complex allele was investigated. The two associated mutations were related to classical severe CF phenotypes.
CFTR; complex allele; cystic fibrosis; phenotype
In congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens patients, the T5 allele at the polymorphic Tn locus in the CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) gene is a frequent disease mutation with incomplete penetrance. This T5 allele will result in a high proportion of CFTR transcripts that lack exon 9, whose translation products will not contribute to apical chloride channel activity. Besides the polymorphic Tn locus, more than 120 polymorphisms have been described in the CFTR gene. We hypothesized that the combination of particular alleles at several polymorphic loci might result in less functional or even insufficient CFTR protein. Analysis of three polymorphic loci with frequent alleles in the general population showed that, in addition to the known effect of the Tn locus, the quantity and quality of CFTR transcripts and/or proteins was affected by two other polymorphic loci: (TG)m and M470V. On a T7 background, the (TG)11 allele gave a 2.8-fold increase in the proportion of CFTR transcripts that lacked exon 9, and (TG)12 gave a sixfold increase, compared with the (TG)10 allele. T5 CFTR genes derived from patients were found to carry a high number of TG repeats, while T5 CFTR genes derived from healthy CF fathers harbored a low number of TG repeats. Moreover, it was found that M470 CFTR proteins matured more slowly, and that they had a 1.7-fold increased intrinsic chloride channel activity compared with V470 CFTR proteins, suggesting that the M470V locus might also play a role in the partial penetrance of T5 as a disease mutation. Such polyvariant mutant genes could explain why apparently normal CFTR genes cause disease. Moreover, they might be responsible for variation in the phenotypic expression of CFTR mutations, and be of relevance in other genetic diseases.
Objective: The aim of the study is to evaluate the role of Denaturing High Performance Liquid Chromatography (DHPLC) in the second level screening of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene.
Methods: A 9-month prospective study, between June 2008 and March 2009 at Artemisia Fetal Medical Centre, included 3829 samples of amniotic fluid collected from women undergoing mid-trimester amniocentesis.
The genetic diagnosis of CF was based on research of the main mutations of the CFTR gene on fetal DNA extracted from the amniocytes, (first level screening) using different commercial diagnostic systems. A second level screening using DHPLC, on the amniotic fluid and on a blood sample from the couple, was offered in case of fetuses heterozygous at first level screening.
Results: Of 3829 fetuses, 134 were found to be positive, 129 heterozygous and 5 affected. Of the 129 couples, following appropriate genetic counselling, 53 requested a second level screening. Through the use of DHPLC, 44 couples were found to be negative, and in nine couples, nine rare mutations were identified.
Conclusions: The first level screening can be useful to evidence up to 75% of the CF mutations. The second level screening can identify a further 10% of mutant alleles. DHPLC was found to be a reliable and specific method for the rapid identification of the rare CFTR mutations which were not revealed in initial first level screening.
CFTR; gene; cystic fibrosis; chromatography
The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a cAMP-regulated chloride channel localized primarily at the apical surfaces of epithelial cells lining airway, gut and exocrine glands, where it is responsible for transepithelial salt and water transport. Several human diseases are associated with an altered channel function of CFTR. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by the loss or dysfunction of CFTR-channel activity resulting from the mutations on the gene; whereas enterotoxin-induced secretory diarrheas are caused by the hyperactivation of CFTR channel function. CFTR is a validated target for drug development to treat these diseases. Significant progress has been made in developing CFTR modulator therapy by means of high-throughput screening followed by hit-to-lead optimization. Several oral administrated investigational drugs are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for CF. Also importantly, new ideas and methodologies are emerging. Targeting CFTR-containing macromolecular complexes is one such novel approach.
Recent discoveries of trypsinogen and trypsin inhibitor mutations in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) support the hypothesis that an inappropriate activation of pancreatic zymogens to active enzymes within the pancreatic parenchyma starts the inflammatory process. Current data suggest that CP may be inherited dominant, recessive, or complex as a result of mutations in the above mentioned or yet unidentified genes. Evaluation of patients with CP should include genetic testing. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive inherited disorder caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and is characterised by pancreatic insufficiency and chronic bronchopulmonary infection. The progression and severity of pulmonary disease differs considerably between people with identical CFTR mutations and does not seem to correlate with the type or class of the CFTR mutation. The identification of further disease modifying genetic factors will increase the pathophysiological understanding and may help to identify new therapeutic targets.
Background: Mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene—many of which cause cystic fibrosis—have also been reported in patients with chronic pancreatitis. The authors examine whether mild or severe CFTR mutations, homozygous or compound heterozygous CFTR mutations, or even simple cystic fibrosis carrier status alone increases the risk of developing pancreatitis.
Methods: After exclusion of patients with trypsinogen (PRSS1) mutations, cystic fibrosis, or pulmonary disease, and with known risk factors for pancreatitis 67 patients with idiopathic chronic pancreatitis (ICP) from northwest Germany and 60 geographically and ethnically matched controls were recruited. The entire coding region of the CFTR gene was sequenced in all patients and controls. ICP patients were also analysed for serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) gene mutations.
Results: Abnormal CFTR alleles were found to be twice as frequent in ICP patients as in controls (25/134 v 11/120; p<0.05). Three of four severe CFTR mutations detected in patients were compound heterozygous with another abnormal CFTR allele, whereas among controls three severe CFTR mutations were found in heterozygous cystic fibrosis carriers. In ICP patients 19 uncommon/mild mutations, including combinations of the 5T allele with 12TG repeats, were identified compared with only five in controls (p = 0.012). Heterozygous SPINK1 mutations were detected in eight ICP patients (15% v 1% in controls) but only one also carried an additional mild CFTR mutation.
Conclusions: These data show that not only compound heterozygosity, but also cystic fibrosis carrier status for different types of CFTR mutations, including uncommon/mild mutations, significantly increase the risk of developing pancreatitis. Although 45% of the study’s ICP patients carried predisposing genetic risk factors (for example, mutations in CFTR or SPINK1), the authors found no evidence that the risk conveyed by CFTR mutations depends on co-inherited SPINK1 mutations.
CFTR; gene mutation; idiopathic chronic pancreatitis
Neonates positive for immunoreactive trypsinogen assay (IRT) and negative for sweat test have formerly been found to carry the major cystic fibrosis (CF) mutation, delta F508, much more frequently than the general population. Among the 716 IRT positive newborns detected by a three tier (IRT, mutation analysis plus meconium lactase assay, sweat test) CF screening programme in north eastern Italy during the period January 1993 to March 1996, we found 45 carriers, a number significantly higher than the expected 17 (p < 0.001). We speculated that some of these heterozygotes could actually be affected by a very mild form of CF, and carry on the other chromosome an undetected CFTR mutation or a DNA variant, such as the 5-thymidine allele in intron 8 of the CFTR gene (IVS8-5T). This hypothesis was tested in four samples; group A (the 45 carriers mentioned above), group B (51 non-carrier, IRT positive neonates), group C (50 IRT negative neonates), and group D (90 CF adult female carriers). Chromosomes with IVS8-5T were seven (7.78%) in group A, seven (6.86%) in group B, five (5%) in group C, and four in group D (2.22%). The 5T prevalence in group A was significantly higher (p < 0.05) compared to group D; similarly, a higher (p < 0.05) 5T frequency in group A compared to group C was detected by considering the chromosomes free from CFTR mutations. This study is consistent with previous papers in finding among neonates with high trypsin levels a CF carrier frequency significantly higher than that expected. It is also suggested that in at least some babies raised trypsin levels at birth could be a phenotypic expression of compound heterozygosity for a major CF mutation plus IVS8-5T.
The increasing number of laboratories offering molecular genetic analysis of the CFTR gene and the growing use of commercial kits strengthen the need for an update of previous best practice guidelines (published in 2000). The importance of organizing regional or national laboratory networks, to provide both primary and comprehensive CFTR mutation screening, is stressed. Current guidelines focus on strategies for dealing with increasingly complex situations of CFTR testing. Diagnostic flow charts now include testing in CFTR-related disorders and in fetal bowel anomalies. Emphasis is also placed on the need to consider ethnic or geographic origins of patients and individuals, on basic principles of risk calculation and on the importance of providing accurate laboratory reports. Finally, classification of CFTR mutations is reviewed, with regard to their relevance to pathogenicity and to genetic counselling.
guidelines; recommendations; genetic testing; cystic fibrosis; CFTR; CFTR-related disorders
It is often challenging for the clinician interested in cystic fibrosis (CF) to interpret molecular genetic results, and to integrate them in the diagnostic process. The limitations of genotyping technology, the choice of mutations to be tested, and the clinical context in which the test is administered can all influence how genetic information is interpreted. This paper describes the conclusions of a consensus conference to address the use and interpretation of CF mutation analysis in clinical settings.
Although the diagnosis of CF is usually straightforward, care needs to be exercised in the use and interpretation of genetic tests: genotype information is not the final arbiter of a clinical diagnosis of CF or CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein related disorders. The diagnosis of these conditions is primarily based on the clinical presentation, and is supported by evaluation of CFTR function (sweat testing, nasal potential difference) and genetic analysis. None of these features are sufficient on their own to make a diagnosis of CF or CFTR-related disorders.
Broad genotype/phenotype associations are useful in epidemiological studies, but CFTR genotype does not accurately predict individual outcome. The use of CFTR genotype for prediction of prognosis in people with CF at the time of their diagnosis is not recommended.
The importance of communication between clinicians and medical genetic laboratories is emphasized. The results of testing and their implications should be reported in a manner understandable to the clinicians caring for CF patients.
Cystic fibrosis; CFTR; Genetic analysis; Diagnosis; Genotype/phenotype correlation
This report describes a DNA variant in the ovine cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene that has been previously reported as a putative cystic fibrosis causing mutation in humans. The variant is a guanine to adenine base change at position 1019 of the ovine CFTR cDNA, corresponding to an arginine (R) to glutamine (Q) amino acid substitution at position 297 in the predicted CFTR polypeptide. The equivalent R297Q mutation in exon 7 of the human CFTR gene has been reported in a CF patient. This is the first putative cystic fibrosis mutation to be detected in another animal species.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting, multisystem disease characterized by thick viscous secretions leading to recurrent lung infections, bronchiectasis, and progressive deterioration in lung function. CF is caused by loss or dysfunction of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein which is responsible for transepithelial chloride and water transport. Improved understanding of CFTR protein dysfunction has allowed the development of mutation-specific small-molecule compounds which directly target the underlying CFTR defect. Ivacaftor is the first licensed small-molecule compound for CF patients which targets the CFTR gating mutation Gly551Asp (previously termed G551D) and has the potential to be truly disease-modifying. Ivacaftor is an oral medication given twice daily and has shown benefit in terms of an increase in lung function, decreased sweat chloride, weight gain, improvement in patient-reported quality of life, and reduction in number of respiratory exacerbations in clinical trials. Although ivacaftor is currently only licensed for use in approximately 5% of the CF population (those who have at least one Gly551Asp mutation), the developmental pathway established by ivacaftor paves the way for other CFTR modulators that may benefit many more patients. In particular, a CFTR modulator for those with the Phe508del deletion (previously ∆F508) would allow 90% of the CF population to benefit from disease-modifying treatment.
cystic fibrosis; cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator; ivacaftor