Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 464–470

Glomerulocystic kidney disease — nosological considerations

  • Jay Bernstein
Invited Review

DOI: 10.1007/BF00857576

Cite this article as:
Bernstein, J. Pediatr Nephrol (1993) 7: 464. doi:10.1007/BF00857576


Glomerulocystic kidneys can be categorized into three major groups: (1) glomerulocystic kidney disease, comprising nonsyndromal heritable and sporadic forms of severely cystic kidneys in children and adults, (2) glomerulocystic kidneys in heritable malformation syndromes, and (3) glomerular cysts in dysplastic kidneys. The first category includes diffusely glomerulocystic kidneys in newborns and young children, many of whom have family histories positive for classical polycystic kidney disease. No differences between familial and sporadic cases have been identified, apart from the family histories. The sporadic cases are conceivably new mutations of the same disease. The first category also includes sporadic and familial disease in older children and adults. The inheritance in adult familial disease, as in childhood familial disease, has been dominant. An apparently distinct entity is hypoplastic glomerulocystic kidney disease, a dominant reported in only a few families. These kidneys, apart from being glomerulocystic, are small, and imaging studies show abnormal pyelocaliceal anatomy. The second category includes glomerulocystic kidneys as major components of heritable syndromes such as tuberous sclerosis, orofaciodigital syndrome, brachymesomelia-renal syndrome, trisomy 13, and the short rib-polydactyly syndromes. The category also includes glomerular cysts in several syndromes, namely Jeune syndrome and familial juvenile nephronophthisis, better known for chronic progressive tubulointerstitial disease. Glomerular cysts occur as a minor component, i.e., scattered cortical cysts, in several other syndromes, among them Zellweger's, in which the cysts are typically present and are usually inconsequential, only occasionally serious enough to affect renal function. In all of these syndromes, the cysts are inconsistently expressed. The third category includes a number of dysplastic kidneys, some of which, as in Meckel syndrome and glutaric aciduria type 2, are also syndromal. The glomerular cysts are minor in comparison with the dysplastic components of the abnormality, although they may be present in sufficient numbers to create confusion with other glomerulocystic conditions.

Key words

Glomerulocystic kidney disease Dominant polycystic kidney disease Malformation syndromes Tuberous sclerosis 

Copyright information

© IPNA 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay Bernstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Research InstituteWilliam Beaumont HospitalRoyal OakUSA

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