Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 1653-1660

First online:

WT1 and glomerular diseases

  • Patrick NiaudetAffiliated withService de Néphrologie Pédiatrique and INSERM U574, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades Email author 
  • , Marie-Claire GublerAffiliated withService de Néphrologie Pédiatrique and INSERM U574, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades

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The WT1 gene encodes a zinc finger transcription factor involved in kidney and gonadal development and, when mutated, in the occurrence of kidney tumor and glomerular diseases. Patients with Denys-Drash syndrome present with early nephrotic syndrome with diffuse mesangial sclerosis progressing rapidly to end-stage renal failure, male pseudohermaphroditism, and Wilms' tumor. Incomplete forms of the syndrome have been described. Germline WT1 missense mutations located in exons 8 or 9 coding for zinc fingers 2 or 3 have been detected in nearly all patients with Denys-Drash syndrome and in some patients with isolated diffuse mesangial sclerosis. Patients with Frasier syndrome present with normal female external genitalia, streak gonads, XY karyotype and progressive nephropathy with proteinuria and nephrotic syndrome with focal and segmental glomerular sclerosis progressing to end-stage renal disease in adolescence or young adulthood. They frequently develop gonadoblastoma. Germline intronic mutations leading to the loss of the +KTS isoforms have been observed in all patients with Frasier syndrome. The same mutations have been observed in genetically female patients with isolated FSGS. Transmission of the mutation is possible. Frasier mutations have also been reported in children with Denys-Drash syndrome.


WT1 gene Denys-Drash syndrome Frasier syndrome Diffuse mesangial sclerosis FSGS Wilms’ tumor Glomerular disease