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Association between familial hypobetalipoproteinemia and the risk of diabetes. Is this the other side of the cholesterol–diabetes connection? A systematic review of literature

  • Autori: Noto, D.; Arca, M.; Tarugi, P.; Cefalu', A.; Barbagallo, C.; Averna, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2017
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Statin therapy is beneficial in reducing LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and cardiovascular events, but it is associated with the risk of incident diabetes mellitus (DM). Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is characterized by genetically determined high levels of plasma LDL-C and a low prevalence of DM. LDL-C levels seem then inversely correlated with prevalence of DM. Familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL) represents the genetic mirror of FH in terms of LDL-C levels, very low in subjects carrying mutations of APOB, PCSK9 (FHBL1) or ANGPTL3 (FHBL2). This review explores the hypothesis that FHBL might represent also the genetic mirror of FH in terms of prevalence of DM and that it is expected to be increased in FHBL in comparison with the general population. A systematic review of published literature on FHBL was made by searching PubMed (1980–2016) for articles presenting clinical data on FHBL probands and relatives. The standardized prevalence rates of DM in FHBL1 were similar to those of the reference population, with a prevalence rate of 8.2 and 9.2%, respectively, while FHBL2 showed a 4.9% prevalence of DM. In conclusion, low LDL-C levels of FHBL do not seem connected to DM as it happens in subjects undergoing statin therapy and the diabetogenic effect of statins has to be explained by mechanisms that do not rely exclusively on the reduced levels of LDL-C. The review also summarizes the published data on the effects of FHBL on insulin sensitivity and the relationships between FH, statin therapy, FHBL1 and intracellular cholesterol metabolism, evaluating possible diabetogenic pathways.