Background & aims: We recently identified a single R117H mutation in the cationic trypsinogen gene in several kindreds with an inherited form of acute and chronic pancreatitis (HP1), providing strong evidence that trypsin plays a central role in premature zymogen activation and pancreatitis. However, not all families studied have this mutation. The aim of this study was to determine the disease-causing mutation in kindreds with hereditary pancreatitis that lack the previously identified mutation.
Methods: Clinical features of the HP1 kindreds were compared with those of the new kindreds (HP2), and genetic linkage analysis, screening for mutations through DNA sequencing, and screening an unaffected population were performed.
Results: The onset of symptoms was delayed and hospitalizations were fewer in HP2 compared with HP1 (P < 0.05). Linkage of the disease gene to chromosome 7q35 was established (logarithm of the odds, 3.73). Mutational screening identified a single A to T mutation resulting in an asparagine to isoleucine transition mutation at position 21 (N21I) in cationic trypsinogen. The mutation was absent in 94 unrelated individuals, representing 188 unique chromosomes.
Conclusions: The identification of a second mutation in the cationic trypsinogen gene (HP2) suggests a dominant role of trypsin in premature protease activation-mediated forms of acute pancreatitis. The pathogenesis of hereditary pancreatitis also suggests that chronic pancreatitis may result from recurrent acute pancreatitis.