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Endocrine Journal
Vol. 49 (2002) No. 6 P 625-633

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http://doi.org/10.1507/endocrj.49.625

ORIGINALS

Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy, candidiasis, and ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) also known as autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type I, is a rare autosomal recessive disorder that results in several autoimmune diseases due to mutations in the AIRE (autoimmune regulator) gene. A 39-year-old female patient developed chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis at 3 yrs, idiopathic hypoparathyroidism at 11 yrs, chronic hepatitis at 23 yrs, Addison’s disease and diabetes mellitus type 1 at 27 yrs. In addition, the patient developed progressive muscular atrophy of unknown etiology at the beginning of the third decade, and is bedridden at the present time. Her grandparents, parents, brother and daughter did not develop any features of APECED, but her father died of hepatoma. Direct sequencing of the AIRE gene revealed a novel missense mutation at exon 1 (R15C), which was identified to be of maternal origin. The other mutation was not found despite repeated sequencing of the whole coding regions. The R15C mutation was not detected in patients with idiopathic hypoparathyroidism (N = 10), idiopathic Addison’s disease (N = 3), and normal subjects (N = 55). Although we could not analyze the father’s gene, these results suggest that the patient is probably a compound heterozygote of the AIRE gene, in which the other abnormal allele could not be identified by the present analytical method. These data are compatible with the recent review that only one defective allele was detectable in some patients with clinically evident APECED. We found only six Japanese patients compatible with diagnosis of APECED, indicating that this autoimmune disease is extremely rare in our country.

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