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Asuman Nur Karhan, Jamila Zammouri, Martine Auclair, Emilie Capel, Feramuz Demir Apaydin, Fehmi Ates, Marie-Christine Verpont, Jocelyne Magré, Bruno Fève, Olivier Lascols, Yusuf Usta, Isabelle Jéru, and Corinne Vigouroux


CAV1 encodes caveolin-1, a major protein of plasma membrane microdomains called caveolae, involved in several signaling pathways. Caveolin-1 is also located at the adipocyte lipid droplet. Heterozygous pathogenic variants of CAV1 induce rare heterogeneous disorders including pulmonary arterial hypertension and neonatal progeroid syndrome. Only one patient was previously reported with a CAV1 homozygous pathogenic variant, associated with congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL3). We aimed to further delineate genetic transmission, clinical, metabolic, and cellular characteristics of CGL3.


In a large consanguineous kindred referred for CGL, we performed next-generation sequencing, as well as clinical, imagery, and metabolic investigations. We studied skin fibroblasts from the index case and the previously reported patient with CGL3.


Four patients, aged 8 months to 18 years, carried a new homozygous p.(His79Glnfs*3) CAV1 variant. They all displayed generalized lipodystrophy since infancy, insulin resistance, low HDL-cholesterol, and/or high triglycerides, but no pulmonary hypertension. Two patients also presented at the age of 15 and 18 years with dysphagia due to achalasia, and one patient had retinitis pigmentosa. Heterozygous parents and relatives (n = 9) were asymptomatic, without any metabolic abnormality. Patients’ fibroblasts showed a complete loss of caveolae and no protein expression of caveolin-1 and its caveolin-2 and cavin-1 partners. Patients’ fibroblasts also displayed insulin resistance, increased oxidative stress, and premature senescence.


The CAV1 null variant investigated herein leads to an autosomal recessive congenital lipodystrophy syndrome. Loss of caveolin-1 and/or caveolae induces specific manifestations including achalasia which requires specific management. Overlapping phenotypic traits between the different CAV1-related diseases require further studies.

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Camille Sollier, Emilie Capel, Caroline Aguilhon, Vasily Smirnov, Martine Auclair, Claire Douillard, Miriam Ladsous, Sabine Defoort-Dhellemmes, Jennifer Gorwood, Laura Braud, Roberto Motterlini, Camille Vatier, Olivier Lascols, Eric Renard, Corinne Vigouroux, and Isabelle Jéru


The term Multiple Symmetric Lipomatosis (MSL) describes a heterogeneous group of rare monogenic disorders and multifactorial conditions, characterized by upper-body adipose masses. Biallelic variants in LIPE encoding hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), a key lipolytic enzyme, were implicated in three families worldwide. We aimed to further delineate LIPE-related clinical features and pathophysiological determinants.


A gene panel was used to identify pathogenic variants. The disease features were reviewed at the French lipodystrophy reference center. The immunohistological, ultrastructural, and protein expression characteristics of lipomatous tissue were determined in surgical samples from one patient. The functional impact of variants was investigated by developing a model of adipose stem cells (ASCs) isolated from lipomatous tissue.


We identified new biallelic LIPE null variants in three unrelated patients referred for MSL and/or partial lipodystrophy. The hallmarks of the disease, appearing in adulthood, included lower-limb lipoatrophy, upper-body and abdominal pseudo-lipomatous masses, diabetes and/or insulin resistance, hypertriglyceridemia, liver steatosis, high blood pressure, and neuromuscular manifestations. Ophthalmological investigations revealed numerous auto-fluorescent drusen-like retinal deposits in all patients. Lipomatous tissue and patient ASCs showed loss of HSL and decreased expression of adipogenic and mature adipocyte markers. LIPE-mutated ASCs displayed impaired adipocyte differentiation, decreased insulin response, defective lipolysis, and mitochondrial dysfunction.


Biallelic LIPE null variants result in a multisystemic disease requiring multidisciplinary care. Loss of HSL expression impairs adipocyte differentiation, consistent with the lipodystrophy/MSL phenotype and associated metabolic complications. Detailed ophthalmological examination could reveal retinal damage, further pointing to the nervous tissue as an important disease target.