It is not unusual to meet increased levels of ferritinaemia in patients apparently healthy. Among other causes of hyperferritinaemia, recently was described the Hereditary Hyperferritinemia Cataract Syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by increased serum ferritin values without iron overload and bilateral nuclear cataract, both of early onset. It has been demonstrated that single or double point mutations or deletions in the stem-loop structure of the iron regulatory element (I.R.E.) located in the 5 untranslated regions of the ferritin L-subunit gene (19q13.1) are responsible for the upregulation of ferritin. This overexpression only for the L-chain gives rise to typical piles in several tissues. When this altered ferritin accumulates in lens it causes bilateral nuclear cataracts, that is the peculiar sign of this syndrome. It is essential to differentiate true iron overload from Hereditary Hyperferritinaemia Cataract Syndrome (H.H.C.S.), because these patients rapidly develop iron deficient anaemia when venosectioned. Here we describe a case report about a 40 years old healthy female blood donor who presented isolated hyperferritinaemia without iron overload, in the absence of concomitant pathologies. Anamnestic, biochemical, instrumental and clinical investigations led us to diagnose H.H.C.S., a pathology first described in 1995. From 1995 to date about 40 cases concerning patients showing the characteristics of this syndrome from Europe, U.S.A., and Australia were described. Biochemical, genetical and clinical investigations led finally to understand every matter of this pathology, providing conclusive and exhaustive explanations.
Keywords: cataract, ferritin, hyperferritinaemia, hyperferritinaemia cataract syndrome, iron metabolism, iron overload, translational pathology
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