Original Article

Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 412-418

Medullary nephrocalcinosis in nephropathic cystinosis

  • Demetrios S. TheodoropoulosAffiliated withSection on Biochemical Genetics, Human Genetics Branch, NICHD, National Institutes of HealthInterinstitute Medical Genetics Program, NIH Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health
  • , Thomas H. ShawkerAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, NIH Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health
  • , Claudine HeinrichsAffiliated withDevelopmental Endocrinology Branch, NICHD, National Institutes of Health
  • , William A. GahlAffiliated withSection on Biochemical Genetics, Human Genetics Branch, NICHD, National Institutes of Health

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Children with nephropathic cystinosis excrete large amounts of calcium and phosphate due to renal tubular Fanconi syndrome, and also receive substantial supplements of phosphate and alkalinizing agents Since these constitute risk factors for nephrocalcinosis, we evaluated 41 children age 2 months to 15 years with nephropathic cystinosis and good renal function by performing retroperitoneal ultrasound examinations in a blinded fashion. We also retrospectively analyzed parameters of calcium and phosphate metabolism representing 216 person-years of data on these children. Fifteen children had no evidence of medullary nephrocalcinosis, while 18 had mild nephrocalcinosis, and 8 severe nephrocalcinosis; 5 had renal stones. Mean urine calcium and phosphate concentrations increased from 1.47 mM and 5.30 mM, respectively, in children without nephrocalcinosis to 1.60 mM and 5.69 mM in children with mild nephrocalcinosis to 1.66 mM and 6.19 mM in children with severe nephrocalcinosis. Mean urine pH ranged from 7.5 to 8.1. The mean (±SD) age of the 26 patients with nephrocalcinosis was 9.4±3.8 years compared with 5.1±3.8 years for those without nephrocalcinosis (P<0.005). Serum calcium, phosphate, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone did not correlate with frequency or degree of nephrocalcinosis. We conclude that nephrocalcinosis frequently accompanies nephropathic cystinosis, can be detected by ultrasound examination, and might be managed by reducing oral replacement of phosphate, calcium, vitamin D, and citrate. Consideration should be given to truncating phosphate replacement once bone growth ceases.

Key words

Nephrocalcinosis Cystinosis Calcium Phosphate Ultrasound Fanconi syndrome