Background: Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is a rare inborn error of metabolism that results from a dysfunctional tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase enzyme (TNSALP). Although genotype-phenotype correlations have been described in HPP patients, only sparse information is currently available on the genetics of mild type HPP. Methods: We investigated 5 Japanese patients from 3 families with mild HPP (patients 1 and 2 are siblings; patient 4 is a daughter of patient 5) who were referred to Fujita Health University due to the premature loss of deciduous teeth. Physical and dental examinations, and blood, urine and bone density tests were conducted. Genetic analysis of the ALPL gene was performed in all patients with their informed consent. Results: After a detailed interview and examination, we found characteristic symptoms of HPP in some of the study cases. Mobile teeth or the loss of permanent teeth were observed in 2 patients, and 3 out of 5 patients had a history of asthma. The serum ALP levels of all patients were 30% below the lower limit of the age equivalent normal range. ALPL gene analysis revealed compound heterozygous mutations, including Ile395Val and Leu520Argfs in family 1, Val95Met and Gly491Arg in family 2, and a dominant missense mutation (Gly456Arg) in family 3. The 3D-modeling of human TNSALP revealed three mutations (Val95Met, Ile395Val and Gly456Arg) at the homodimer interface. Severe collisions between the side chains were predicted for the Gly456Arg variant. Discussion: One of the characteristic findings of this present study was a high prevalence of coexisting asthma and a high level serum IgE level. These characteristics may account for the fragility of tracheal tissues and a predisposition to asthma in patients with mild HPP. The genotypes of the five mild HPP patients in our present study series included 1) compound heterozygous for severe and hypomorphic mutations, and 2) dominant-negative mutations. All of these mutations were at the homodimer interface, but only the dominant-negative mutation was predicted to cause a severe collision effect between the side chains. This may account for varying mechanisms leading to different effects on TNSALP function.
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