Family studies of plasma dopamine β-hydroxylase thermal stability

J. Dunnette, R. Weinshilboum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


There are large individual variations in the thermal stability of human plasma dopamine β hydroxylase (DBH). These variations are a characteristic of the DBH molecule itself. Individual subjects may be classified as those with thermolabile and those with thermostable plasma DBH. Of 362 randomly selected unrelated children, 8.01%, and of 238 randomly selected unrelated adult subjects, 5.46% had thermolabile plasma DBH. There was not a significant correlation of DBH thermolability with either sex or age on the basis of data from 230 adults and children in 53 randomly selected families. Subjects with thermolabile DBH had basal enzyme activity only about 55% of that in subjects with stable enzyme. There was not a direct relationship between DBH thermolability and the allele DBH, the presence of which results in very low basal enzyme activity. There was a significant familial aggregation of the trait of DBH thermolability, but there was not a significant correlation of this trait among spouses. Although preliminary pedigree evaluation raised the possibility of monogenic inheritance of the trait of DBH thermolability by an autosomal recessive mechanism, three separate families in which both parents had thermolabile enzyme included offspring with thermo-stable DBH. All five of these offspring had very low basal plasma DBH and were presumed to be homozygous for the allele DBH(L). These observations raised the possibility that the trait of plasma DBH thermolability may be inherited, and that there may be an interaction between the locus or loci responsible for thermal stability and the locus DBH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-99
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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