Familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL) is a common familial lipid disorder characterized by a variable pattern of elevated levels of plasma cholesterol and/or triglycerides. It is present in 10%-20% of patients with premature coronary heart disease. The genetic etiology of the disease, including the number of genes involved and the magnitude of their effects, is unknown. Using a subset of 35 Dutch families ascertained for FCHL, we screened the genome, with a panel of 399 genetic markers, for chromosomal regions linked to genes contributing to FCHL. The results were analyzed by use of parametric-linkage methods in a two-stage study design. Four loci, on chromosomes 2p, 11p, 16q, and 19q, exhibited suggestive evidence for linkage with FCHL (LOD scores of 1.3-2.6). Markers within each of these regions were then examined in the original sample and in additional Dutch families with FCHL. The locus on chromosome 2 failed to show evidence for linkage, and the loci on chromosome 16q and 19q yielded only equivocal or suggestive evidence for linkage. However, one locus, near marker D11S1324 on the short arm of human chromosome 11, continued to show evidence for linkage with FCHL, in the second stage of this design. This region does not contain any strong candidate genes. These results provide evidence for a candidate chromosomal region for FCHL and support the concept that FCHL is complex and heterogeneous.
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