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Disease Profile

Hereditary amyloidosis

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Familial amyloidosis; Amyloidosis hereditary


Metabolic disorders


Hereditary amyloidosis refers to a group of inherited conditions that make up one of the subtypes of amyloidosis. Hereditary amyloidosis is characterized by the deposit of an abnormal protein called amyloid in multiple organs of the body where it should not be, which causes disruption of organ tissue structure and function.[1] In hereditary amyloidosis, amyloid deposits most often occur in tissues of the heart, kidneys, and nervous system.[2] While symptoms of hereditary amyloidosis may appear in childhood, most individuals do not experience symptoms until adulthood.[3] There are many types of hereditary amyloidosis associated with different gene mutations and abnormal proteins. The most common type of hereditary amyloidosis is transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR), a condition in which the amyloid deposits are most often made up of the transthyretin protein which is made in the liver. Other examples of hereditary amyloidosis include, but are not limited to, apolipoprotein AI amyloidosis (A ApoAI), gelsolin amyloidosis (A Gel), lysozyme amyloidosis (A Lys), cystatin C amyloidosis (A Cys), fibrinogen Aα-chain amyloidosis (A Fib), and apolipoprotein AII amyloidosis (A ApoAII).[4] Most types of hereditary amyloidosis are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.[3] Treatment is focused on addressing symptoms of organ damage and slowing down the production of amyloid when possible through methods such as liver transplants.[4]


In the case of hereditary amyloidoses, the existence of a family history or similar illness is of great assistance in diagnosing the condition. However, not everyone with a mutation in a gene associated with hereditary amyloidosis will develop symptoms. Additionally, symptoms of the disease typically do not appear until older age and the condition may have been misdiagnosed in other affected family members. For these reasons, the absence of a family history may be misleading.[1]

The diagnosis of amyloidosis is usually made by performing a tissue biopsy and staining the tissue with Congo red stain to detect the presence or absence of amyloid deposits. The biopsy may be from any affected organ, but biopsying the rectal mucosa generally results in better detection of the following hereditary amyloidoses: transthyretin amyloidosis, apolipoprotein AI amyloidosis, fibrinogen Aα-chain amyloidosis (A Fib), and apolipoprotein AII amyloidosis (A ApoAII).[1]

Additionally, when a hereditary amyloidoses is suspected, genetic testing may be able to confirm a diagnosis. It is important to note that genetic testing may not be available for all types of hereditary amyloidoses. For those individuals interested in pursuing genetic testing, we recommend scheduling a genetics consultation to determine whether genetic testing would be appropriate and available.


The resources below provide information about treatment options for this condition. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional.

Management Guidelines


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Social Networking Websites

      • RareConnect has an online community for patients and families with this condition so they can connect with others and share their experiences living with a rare disease. The project is a joint collaboration between EURORDIS (European Rare Disease Organisation) and NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders).

        Learn more

        These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

        Where to Start

        • The Mayo Clinic provides information on the diagnosis and treatment of amyloidosis.
        • Amyloidosis Awareness is an illustrated booklet for patients and physicians developed by Amyloidosis Support Groups Inc. Versions of the booklet are also available in Spanish and Portuguese.
        • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.

          In-Depth Information

          • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
          • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
          • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Hereditary amyloidosis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


            1. Benson MD. The hereditary amyloidoses. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. 2003; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15123043.
            2. Hereditary Amyloidosis. MedlinePlus. 10/27/2015; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000368.htm.
            3. Rowczenio DM, Noor I, Gillmore JD, Lachmann HJ, Whelan C, Hawkins PN, Obici L, Westermark P, Grateau G, Wechalekar AD. Online Registry for Mutations in Hereditary Amyloidosis Including Nomenclature Recommendations. Hum Mutat. Sep 2014; 35(9):E2402-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25044787.
            4. Hereditary Amyloidosis. Amyloidosis Foundation. https://www.amyloidosis.org/facts/familial/. Accessed 7/19/2016.

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