A mutation in the SAA1 promoter causes hereditary amyloid A amyloidosis

Kidney Int. 2022 Feb;101(2):349-359. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2021.09.007. Epub 2021 Sep 21.


Amyloid A amyloidosis is a serious clinical condition resulting from the systemic deposition of amyloid A originating from serum amyloid A proteins with the kidneys being the most commonly and earliest affected organ. Previously described amyloid A amyloidosis is linked to increased production and deposition of serum amyloid A proteins secondary to inflammatory conditions arising from infectious, metabolic, or genetic causes. Here we describe a family with primary amyloid A amyloidosis due to a chr11:18287683 T>C (human genome version19) mutation in the SAA1 promoter linked to the amyloidogenic SAA1.1 haplotype. This condition leads to a doubling of the basal SAA1 promoter activity and sustained elevation of serum amyloid A levels that segregated in an autosomal dominant pattern in 12 genetically affected and in none of six genetically unaffected relatives, yielding a statistically significant logarithm of odds (LOD) score over 5. Affected individuals developed proteinuria, chronic kidney disease and systemic deposition of amyloid composed specifically of the SAA1.1 isoform. Tocilizumab (a monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor) had a beneficial effect when prescribed early in the disease course. Idiopathic forms represent a significant and increasing proportion (15-20%) of all diagnosed cases of amyloid A amyloidosis. Thus, genetic screening of the SAA1 promoter should be pursued in individuals with amyloid A amyloidosis and no systemic inflammation, especially if there is a positive family history.

Keywords: AA amyloidosis; chronic kidney disease; promoter mutation; serum amyloid A; tocilizumab; whole-genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis* / complications
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein / genetics
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein / metabolism


  • SAA1 protein, human
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein

Supplementary concepts

  • AA amyloidosis