Variation in amount of wild-type transthyretin in different fibril and tissue types in ATTR amyloidosis

J Mol Med (Berl). 2011 Feb;89(2):171-80. doi: 10.1007/s00109-010-0695-1. Epub 2010 Nov 25.


Familial transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis is caused by a mutation in the TTR gene, although wild-type (wt) TTR is also incorporated into the amyloid fibrils. Liver transplantation (LT) is the prevailing treatment of the disease and is performed in order to eliminate the mutant TTR from plasma. The outcome of the procedure is varied; especially problematic is a progressive cardiomyopathy seen in some patients, presumably caused by continued incorporation of wtTTR. What determines the discrepancy in outcome is not clear. We have previously shown that two structurally distinct amyloid fibrils (with or without fragmented ATTR) are found among ATTRV30M patients. In this study, we investigated the proportion of wtATTR in cardiac and adipose amyloid from patients having either fibril type. It was found that cardiac amyloid more easily incorporates wtTTR than adipose amyloid, offering a potential explanation for the vulnerability of cardiac tissue for continued amyloidosis after LT. In cardiac tissue, fibrils with fragmented ATTR contained a higher wt proportion than fibrils without, suggesting that continued incorporation of wtTTR after LT, perhaps, can take place more easily in these patients. In adipose tissue, a rapid increase in wt proportion after LT indicates that a rather fast turnover of the deposits must occur. A difference in wt proportion between the fibril types was seen post-LT but not pre-LT, possibly caused by differences in turnover rate. Conclusively, this study further establishes the basic dissimilarities between the two fibril types and demonstrates that their role in LT outcome needs to be further investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyloid / metabolism*
  • Amyloidosis / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Prealbumin / genetics
  • Prealbumin / metabolism*


  • Amyloid
  • Prealbumin