ABSTRACT: Alport syndrome affects up to 60,000 people in the United States. The proposed reclassification of thin basement membrane nephropathy and some cases of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis as Alport syndrome could substantially increase the affected population. The reclassification scheme categorizes Alport syndrome as 3 distinct diseases of type IV collagen ?3/4/5 based on a genetic evaluation: X-linked, autosomal, and digenic. This approach has the advantage of identifying patients at risk for progressive loss of kidney function. Furthermore, the shared molecular cause of Alport syndrome and thin basement membrane nephropathy arises from mutations in the COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5 genes, which contribute to downstream pathophysiologic consequences, including chronic kidney inflammation. Recent evidence indicates that chronic inflammation and its regulation through anti-inflammatory nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and proinflammatory nuclear factor ?-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-?B) transcription factors plays a central role in renal tubular and glomerular cell responses to injury. Crosstalk between the Nrf2 and NF-?B pathways is important in the regulation of inflammation in patients with chronic kidney disease; moreover, there is evidence that an insufficient Nrf2 response to inflammation contributes to disease progression. Given the association between type IV collagen abnormalities and chronic inflammation, there is renewed interest in targeted anti-inflammatory therapies in Alport syndrome and other forms of progressive chronic kidney disease.
Project description:The glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is an important component of the kidney's glomerular filtration barrier. Like all basement membranes, the GBM contains type IV collagen, laminin, nidogen, and heparan sulfate proteoglycan. It is flanked by the podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells that both synthesize it and adhere to it. Mutations that affect the GBM's collagen ?3?4?5(IV) components cause Alport syndrome (kidney disease with variable ear and eye defects) and its variants, including thin basement membrane nephropathy. Mutations in LAMB2 that impact the synthesis or function of laminin ?5?2?1 (LM-521) cause Pierson syndrome (congenital nephrotic syndrome with eye and neurological defects) and its less severe variants, including isolated congenital nephrotic syndrome. The very different types of kidney diseases that result from mutations in collagen IV vs. laminin are likely due to very different pathogenic mechanisms. A better understanding of these mechanisms should lead to targeted therapeutic approaches that can help people with these rare but important diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Autosomal forms of Alport syndrome represent 20% of all patients (15% recessive and 5% dominant). They are caused by mutations in the COL4A3 and COL4A4 genes, which encode a-3 and a-4 collagen IV chains of the glomerular basement membrane, cochlea and eye. Thin basement membrane nephropathy may affect up to 1% of the population. The pattern of inheritance in the 40% of cases is the same as autosomal dominant Alport syndrome: heterozygous mutations in these genes. The aim of this study is to detect new pathogenic mutations in the COL4A4 gene in the patients previously diagnosed with autosomal Alport syndrome and thin basement membrane nephropathy in our hospital. METHODS: We conducted a clinical and genetic study in eleven patients belonging to six unrelated families with aforementioned clinical symptoms and a negative study of COL4A3 gene. The molecular study was made by conformation of sensitive gel electrophoresis (CSGE) and direct sequencing of the fragments that show an altered electrophoretic migration pattern. RESULTS: We found two pathogenic mutations, not yet described: IVS3 + 1G > C is a replacement of Guanine to Cytosine in position +1 of intron 3, in the splicing region, which leads to a pathogenic mutation. c.4267C > T; p.P1423S is a missense mutation, also considered pathogenic. We also found seven new polymorphisms. CONCLUSIONS: We describe two new pathogenic mutations, responsible for autosomal dominant Alport syndrome. The other families of the study were undiagnosed owing to problems in the method employed and the possibility of mutations in other genes, giving rise to other diseases with similar symptoms.
Project description:Hematuria is a common presenting complaint in pediatric nephrology clinics and often has a familial basis. This teaching article provides an overview of causes, diagnosis, and management of the major forms of familial hematuria, Alport syndrome, and thin basement membrane nephropathy.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a histological lesion with many causes, including inherited genetic defects, with significant proteinuria being the predominant clinical finding at presentation. Mutations in COL4A3 and COL4A4 are known to cause Alport syndrome (AS), thin basement membrane nephropathy, and to result in pathognomonic glomerular basement membrane (GBM) findings. Secondary FSGS is known to develop in classic AS at later stages of the disease. Here, we present seven families with rare or novel variants in COL4A3 or COL4A4 (six with single and one with two heterozygous variants) from a cohort of 70 families with a diagnosis of hereditary FSGS. The predominant clinical finding at diagnosis was proteinuria associated with hematuria. In all seven families, there were individuals with nephrotic-range proteinuria with histologic features of FSGS by light microscopy. In one family, electron microscopy showed thin GBM, but four other families had variable findings inconsistent with classical Alport nephritis. There was no recurrence of disease after kidney transplantation. Families with COL4A3 and COL4A4 variants that segregated with disease represent 10% of our cohort. Thus, COL4A3 and COL4A4 variants should be considered in the interpretation of next-generation sequencing data from such patients. Furthermore, this study illustrates the power of molecular genetic diagnostics in the clarification of renal phenotypes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:About 40-50% of patients with familial microscopic hematuria (FMH) caused by thin basement membrane nephropathy (TBMN) inherit heterozygous mutations in collagen IV genes (COL4A3, COL4A4). On long follow-up, the full phenotypic spectrum of these patients varies a lot, ranging from isolated MH or MH plus low-grade proteinuria to chronic renal failure of variable degree, including end-stage renal disease (ESRD). METHODS:Here, we performed Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in patients of six families, presenting with autosomal dominant FMH, with or without progression to proteinuria and loss of renal function, all previously found negative for severe collagen IV mutations. Hierarchical filtering of the WES data was performed, followed by mutation prediction analysis, Sanger sequencing and genetic segregation analysis. RESULTS:In one family with four patients, we found evidence for the contribution of two co-inherited variants in two crucial genes expressed in the glomerular basement membrane (GBM); LAMA5-p.Pro1243Leu and COL4A5-p.Asp654Tyr. Mutations in COL4A5 cause classical X-linked Alport Syndrome, while rare mutations in the LAMA5 have been reported in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. The phenotypic spectrum of the patients includes hematuria, proteinuria, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, loss of kidney function and renal cortical cysts. CONCLUSIONS:A modifier role of LAMA5 on the background of a hypomorphic Alport syndrome causing mutation is a possible explanation of our findings. Digenic inheritance is another scenario, following the concept that mutations at both loci more accurately explain the spectrum of symptoms, but further investigation is needed under this concept. This is the third report linking a LAMA5 variant with human renal disease and expanding the spectrum of genes involved in glomerular pathologies accompanied by familial hematurias. The cystic phenotype overlaps with that of a mouse model, which carried a Lama5 hypomorphic mutation that caused severely reduced Lama5 protein levels and produced kidney cysts.
Project description:Familial hematuria (FH) is explained by at least four different genes (see below). About 50% of patients develop late proteinuria and chronic kidney disease (CKD). We hypothesized that MYH9/APOL1, two closely linked genes associated with CKD, may be associated with adverse progression in FH. Our study included 102 thin basement membrane nephropathy (TBMN) patients with three known COL4A3/COL4A4 mutations (cohort A), 83 CFHR5/C3 glomerulopathy patients (cohort B) with a single CFHR5 mutation and 15 Alport syndrome patients (cohort C) with two known COL4A5 mild mutations, who were categorized as "Mild" (controls) or "Severe" (cases), based on renal manifestations. E1 and S1 MYH9 haplotypes and variant rs11089788 were analyzed for association with disease phenotype. Evidence for association with "Severe" progression in CFHR5 nephropathy was found with MYH9 variant rs11089788 and was confirmed in an independent FH cohort, D (cumulative p value = 0.001, odds ratio = 3.06, recessive model). No association was found with APOL1 gene. Quantitative Real time PCR did not reveal any functional significance for the rs11089788 risk allele. Our results derive additional evidence supporting previous reports according to which MYH9 is an important gene per se, predisposing to CKD, suggesting its usefulness as a prognostic marker for young hematuric patients.
Project description:Studies suggest that altered renal lipid metabolism plays a role in the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease and that genetic or pharmacological induction of cholesterol efflux protects from the development of diabetic kidney disease and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Here we tested whether altered lipid metabolism contributes to renal failure in the Col4a3 knockout mouse model for Alport Syndrome. There was an eight-fold increase in the cholesterol content in renal cortexes of mice with Alport Syndrome. This was associated with increased glomerular lipid droplets and cholesterol crystals. Treatment of mice with Alport Syndrome with hydroxypropyl-?-cyclodextrin (HP?CD) reduced cholesterol content in the kidneys of mice with Alport Syndrome and protected from the development of albuminuria, renal failure, inflammation and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Cholesterol efflux and trafficking-related genes were primarily affected in mice with Alport Syndrome and were differentially regulated in the kidney cortex and isolated glomeruli. HP?CD also protected from proteinuria and mesangial expansion in a second model of non-metabolic kidney disease, adriamycin-induced nephropathy. Consistent with our experimental findings, microarray analysis confirmed dysregulation of several lipid-related genes in glomeruli isolated from kidney biopsies of patients with primary FSGS enrolled in the NEPTUNE study. Thus, lipid dysmetabolism occurs in non-metabolic glomerular disorders such as Alport Syndrome and FSGS, and HP?CD improves renal function in experimental Alport Syndrome and FSGS.
Project description:MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) contributes to the pathogenesis of fibrogenic diseases in multiple organs, including the kidneys, potentially by silencing metabolic pathways that are critical for cellular ATP generation, ROS production, and inflammatory signaling. Here, we developed highly specific oligonucleotides that distribute to the kidney and inhibit miR-21 function when administered subcutaneously and evaluated the therapeutic potential of these anti-miR-21 oligonucleotides in chronic kidney disease. In a murine model of Alport nephropathy, miR-21 silencing did not produce any adverse effects and resulted in substantially milder kidney disease, with minimal albuminuria and dysfunction, compared with vehicle-treated mice. miR-21 silencing dramatically improved survival of Alport mice and reduced histological end points, including glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis, tubular injury, and inflammation. Anti-miR-21 enhanced PPAR?/retinoid X receptor (PPAR?/RXR) activity and downstream signaling pathways in glomerular, tubular, and interstitial cells. Moreover, miR-21 silencing enhanced mitochondrial function, which reduced mitochondrial ROS production and thus preserved tubular functions. Inhibition of miR-21 was protective against TGF-?-induced fibrogenesis and inflammation in glomerular and interstitial cells, likely as the result of enhanced PPAR?/RXR activity and improved mitochondrial function. Together, these results demonstrate that inhibition of miR-21 represents a potential therapeutic strategy for chronic kidney diseases including Alport nephropathy.
Project description:Familial glomerular hematuria(s) comprise a genetically heterogeneous group of conditions which include Alport Syndrome (AS) and thin basement membrane nephropathy (TBMN). Here we investigated 57 Greek-Cypriot families presenting glomerular microscopic hematuria (GMH), with or without proteinuria or chronic kidney function decline, but excluded classical AS. We specifically searched the COL4A3/A4 genes and identified 8 heterozygous mutations in 16 families (28,1%). Eight non-related families featured the founder mutation COL4A3-p.(G1334E). Renal biopsies from 8 patients showed TBMN and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Ten patients (11.5%) reached end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) at ages ranging from 37-69-yo (mean 50,1-yo). Next generation sequencing of the patients who progressed to ESKD failed to reveal a second mutation in any of the COL4A3/A4/A5 genes, supporting that true heterozygosity for COL4A3/A4 mutations predisposes to CRF/ESKD. Although this could be viewed as a milder and late-onset form of autosomal dominant AS, we had no evidence of ultrastructural features or extrarenal manifestations that would justify this diagnosis. Functional studies in cultured podocytes transfected with wild type or mutant COL4A3 chains showed retention of mutant collagens and differential activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) cascade. This signifies the potential role of the UPR cascade in modulating the final phenotype in patients with collagen IV nephropathies.
Project description:Alport syndrome, historically referred to as hereditary glomerulonephritis with sensorineural deafness and anterior lenticonus, is a genetic disease of collagen ?3?4?5(IV) resulting in renal failure. The collagen ?3?4?5(IV) heterotrimer forms a network that is a major component of the kidney glomerular basement membrane (GBM) and basement membranes in the cochlea and eye. Alport syndrome, estimated to affect 1 in 5000-10,000 individuals, is caused by mutations in any one of the three genes that encode the ? chain components of the collagen ?3?4?5(IV) heterotrimer: COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5. Although angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition is effective in Alport syndrome patients for slowing progression to end-stage renal disease, it is neither a cure nor an adequate long-term protector. The 2014 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome, held in Oxford, UK, from January 3-5, was organized by individuals and families living with Alport syndrome, in concert with international experts in the clinical, genetic, and basic science aspects of the disease. Stakeholders from diverse communities-patient families, physicians, geneticists, researchers, Pharma, and funding organizations-were brought together so that they could meet and learn from each other and establish strategies and collaborations for the future, with the overall aim of discovering much needed new treatments to prolong kidney function.