Clinical improvement and amyloid regression after liver transplantation in hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis

Lancet. 1993 May 1;341(8853):1113-6. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(93)93127-m.


Familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP) is a fatal autosomal dominant disorder. Progressive peripheral and autonomic neuropathy are associated with neural and visceral deposition of amyloid, derived most commonly from the Met-30 variant of the plasma protein transthyretin. We have reported previously that orthotopic liver transplantation causes prompt replacement of variant transthyretin by the donor wild-type in the plasma. We now report clinical outcome 1-2 years after transplantation. Three of the first four patients have improved general wellbeing, walking ability, and bowel function, and one of them has regained normal bladder and bowel function. There has been little objective improvement in peripheral neuropathy. The fourth patient, who had the most severe neurological deficits and a complicated postoperative course, has not improved but there has been no further deterioration in contrast to the inexorable progression before transplantation. Quantitative scintigraphy with radiolabelled serum amyloid P component showed visceral amyloid deposits in all three patients studied; in two who were followed serially the deposits regressed after transplantation in association with the clinical improvement. Another FAP patient who was also monitored prospectively for 2 years but who did not undergo transplantation, showed, as expected, progression of neuropathy and increased visceral amyloid deposition. Liver transplantation does therefore have important benefits in FAP during the first 2 years after surgery. Neurological decline is halted and amyloid deposits can be mobilised. The best timing and long-term results of the procedure must now be established.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amyloidosis / complications
  • Amyloidosis / genetics
  • Amyloidosis / metabolism
  • Amyloidosis / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Prealbumin / genetics
  • Prealbumin / metabolism*


  • Prealbumin