Characterization of a new case of autoimmune type I hyperlipidemia: long-term remission under immunosuppressive therapy

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Mar;82(3):791-6. doi: 10.1210/jcem.82.3.3835.


Only a few cases of type I hyperlipidemia occurring in patients with autoimmune disease have been reported. We describe the case of a 35-yr-old woman suffering from severe type I hyperchylomicronemia. A combination of various hypolipidemic treatments, including strict hypolipidemic dietary therapy and administration of fibrates or n-3 fatty acids, was inefficient. Because of a history of familial autoimmunity, we introduced an immunosuppressive therapy that resulted in consistent long term and stable remission. Two attempts to reduce the immunosuppressor dose resulted in major relapses. To explain the defect of chylomicron hydrolysis, we investigated the postheparin plasma lipase activities. Hepatic triglyceride lipase activity was normal, whereas that of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) was reduced to about 30% of normal. Immunosuppressive therapy resulted in a complete and durable normalization of LPL activity. Using Western blot analysis, we found in the plasma of the patient a circulating IgG specifically directed against LPL, which became undetectable during immunosuppressive therapy. Western blot analysis revealed that the whole circulating anti-LPL autoantibody was bound to chylomicrons. Proteins extracted from patient's chylomicrons were able to induce a dose-related inhibition of LPL activity in vitro, whereas that of hepatic triglyceride lipase remained unchanged. These data constitute the first description of autoimmune hyperchylomicronemia due to an exclusive defect of LPL activity, and they show that a complete remission has been obtained after immunosuppressive therapy. Finally, our finding that the anti-LPL autoantibody is bound to chylomicrons emphasizes their previously unrecognized ability to transport LPL, already described for other lipoprotein fractions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Chylomicrons / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Lipoprotein Lipase / blood
  • Lipoprotein Lipase / deficiency
  • Lipoprotein Lipase / immunology
  • Remission Induction
  • Time Factors


  • Autoantibodies
  • Chylomicrons
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Lipoprotein Lipase