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BACKGROUND: Mutations in HFE, a gene defect that can disrupt iron metabolism, have been implicated in increasing the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). OBJECTIVE: To further establish the association between ALS and HFE mutations by investigating whether HFE mutations are associated with an increased risk of developing ALS in a population in The Netherlands and by pooling our results with those from previous studies. DESIGN: Retrospective study. SETTING: Tertiary referral center for neuromuscular disorders. PARTICIPANTS: Genotyping for 2 common HFE mutations was performed in 289 patients with ALS and 5886 population-based controls in The Netherlands between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2004. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Development of ALS and clinical phenotype were compared among the different HFE genotypes, adjusting for known prognostic factors such as age at onset and sex. RESULTS: Homozygosity for H63D was associated with an increased risk of developing ALS (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-4.1). After pooling our results with those from previous studies, a positive association between H63D homozygotes (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.7-4.4), heterozygotes (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.1), and mutation carriers (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.5) was found. Within the patient group, heterozygosity for the H63D mutation was associated with a higher age at onset. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that H63D mutations in HFE play a role in the pathogenesis of ALS in various populations. This association might involve a later-onset subset of ALS.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Neurol

Publication Date





63 - 67


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Asparagine, Confidence Intervals, DNA Mutational Analysis, Female, Gene Frequency, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Hemochromatosis Protein, Histidine, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Humans, Male, Membrane Proteins, Middle Aged, Mutation, Netherlands, Odds Ratio, Retrospective Studies