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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2010 March;56(1):19-23


language: English

Adult-type hypolactasia genotyping in Northern Italy: prevalence of C/T-13910 polymorphism and questions after comparison with existing data

Ghidini C. 1, Sottini A. 1, Zanotti C. 1, Serana F. 2, Marini M. 3, Caimi L. 1, 2, Imberti L. 1

1 Laboratory of Biotechnologies, Diagnostics Department, Spedali Civili of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; 2 Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; 3 Immunohematology and Transfusion Service Diagnostics Department,Spedali Civili of Brescia, Brescia, Italy


A genotyping assay was setup to assess the prevalence, in the population of a Northern Italian city, of the C/T-13910 single nucleotide polymorphism, closely associated to lactose malabsorption in many world areas including Sardinia. The results were compared to published Italian data, in order to evaluate the worth of a future validation of the assay for use in routine practice. DNA was extracted from blood samples of 123 randomly chosen healthy blood donors coming from the same city area, and was analyzed by a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping assay; the frequency of the hypolactasia-associated CC-genotype was compared to the weighted average of results extracted from studies reporting the frequency of hypolactasic phenotype or genotype in nearby or distant Italian regions. Sixty-five percent of donors carried the CC-genotype, a percentage similar to other northern Italian cities, but significantly higher than what previously determined in surrounding Italian regions at the phenotype level, i.e. by breath test. This discrepancy parallels recent reports of non concordance between results of genotyping and hypolactasic phenotype in some world areas, including a neighbouring Northern Italian city. A north-south gradient of CC-prevalence was also observed. These results reinforce the notion of wide inter-regional variations in the frequency of C/T-13910 polymorphism and of incostant concordance with hypolactasic phenotype, even in subjects from the same country. Given the unsatisfactory results recently obtained from validation of a related assay in a neighbouring city, the authors decided not to proceed further and keep the assay only as a diagnostic aid in special situations.

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