Measurements of the key parameters of cholesterol homeostasis and the mass of the body pools of cholesterol were carried out in two patients with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), one homozygote and one heterozygote, before and 28 and 18 months, respectively, after portacaval anastomosis (PCA). In both patients the procedure significantly reduced the plasma concentrations of total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol and the daily rate of whole body cholesterol and bile acid synthesis. In addition, PCA caused a net efflux of accumulated tissue cholesterol as demonstrated by reductions in the rapidly exchangeable and total exchangeable masses of body cholesterol. Shunt patency was verified by demonstration of increased bile acids in serum from fasting patients and from patients 2 hr after a meal and by increased plasma glucagon before and after arginine infusion. Other than a persistently increased level of serum alkaline phosphatase, liver function tests have fallen within the normal range in both patients; there has been no evidence of hepatic encephalopathy. In the homozygous patient there has also been a striking resolution in xanthoma size and distribution. These multiple effects on cholesterol homeostasis and pool sizes strongly suggest that PCA can reverse the progressive accumulation of cholesterol in body tissues of FH patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-568
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1983


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