The different prevalences of iron overload syndromes between Caucasians and Asians may be accounted for by the differences in genetic background. The major mutation of hemochromatosis in Celtic ancestry, C282Y of HFE, was reported in a Japanese patient. Five patients of 3 families with the hepatic transferrin receptor gene (TFR2)-linked hemochromatosis were found in different areas of Japan, suggesting that TFR2 is a major gene in Japanese people. Three patients with mutations in the hemojuvelin gene, HJV, showed also middle-age-onset hemochromatosis. A heterozygous mutation in the H ferritin gene, FTH1, was found in a family of 3 affected patients. Another autosomal dominant SLC40A1-linked hyperferritinemia (ferroportin disease) was found in 3 patients of 2 families. Two patients with hemochromatosis were free from any mutations in the genes investigated. In conclusion, the genetic backgrounds of Japanese patients with primary iron overload syndromes were partially clarified, showing some phenotype-genotype correlations.
2006 by The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine