Background Nephronophthisis (NPH) is the most prevalent genetic cause for ESRD in children. However, little is known about the prevalence of NPH in adult-onset ESRD. Homozygous full gene deletions of the NPHP1 gene encoding nephrocystin-1 are a prominent cause of NPH. We determined the prevalence of NPH in adults by assessing homozygous NPHP1 full gene deletions in adult-onset ESRD.
Methods Adult renal transplant recipients from five cohorts of the International Genetics and Translational Research in Transplantation Network (iGeneTRAiN) underwent single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping. After quality control, we determined autosomal copy number variants (such as deletions) on the basis of median log2 ratios and B-allele frequency patterns. The findings were independently validated in one cohort. Patients were included in the analysis if they had adult-onset ESRD, defined as start of RRT at >= 18 years old.
Results We included 5606 patients with adult-onset ESRD; 26 (0.5%) showed homozygous NPHP1 deletions. No donor controls showed homozygosity for this deletion. Median age at ESRD onset was 30 (range, 18-61) years old for patients with NPH, with 54% of patients age >= 30 years old. Notably, only three (12%) patients were phenotypically classified as having NPH, whereas most patients were defined as having CKD with unknown etiology (n=11; 42%).
Conclusions Considering that other mutation types in NPHP1 or mutations in other NPH-causing genes were not analyzed, NPH is a relatively frequent monogenic cause of adult-onset ESRD. Because 88% of patients had not been clinically diagnosed with NPH, wider application of genetic testing in adult-onset ESRD may be warranted.