Albinism and Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome in Puerto Rico

Bol Asoc Med P R. 1990 Aug;82(8):333-9.


Five types of oculocutaneous albinism and two types of ocular albinism were found among 349 Puerto Rican albinos. The most prevalent type of albinism was the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS). HPS was observed in five of every six albinos in Puerto Rico. The prevalence of HPS was highest in the northwestern quarter of the island, affecting approximately one in 1,800 persons, and approximately one in 22 are carriers of the gene. HPS is an autosomal recessively inherited triad of a tyrosinase-positive type of albinism, a hemorrhagic diathesis due to storage pool deficient platelets and accumulation of ceroid in tissues. The pigmentary phenotype of HPS albinos resembled that of any other type of oculocutaneous or ocular albinism. The most reliable method of diagnosing HPS is by a deficiency of platelet dense bodies observed by electron microscopy. The accumulation of ceroid in the tissues is associated with fibrotic restrictive lung disease and granulomatous enteropathic disease. The enteropathic disorder resembles Crohn's disease and with few exceptions, had its onset after 13 years of age. The major causes of death were fibrotic restrictive pulmonary disease, hemorrhagic episodes and sequelae of granulomatous enteropathic disease. Menometrorrhagia was common in women with HPS. No immune deficiency was found in HPS patients. The majority of patients with HPS had visual acuities of 20/200 or worse and consequently were legally blind. Albinos of all types, including HPS, lacked binocular vision due to nearly complete crossing of the optic tracts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Albinism, Ocular / epidemiology*
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous / complications
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous / epidemiology*
  • Albinism, Oculocutaneous / genetics
  • Blood Platelet Disorders / etiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology