Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 1053–1062 | Cite as

Rationale for early treatment of polycystic kidney disease

  • Jared J. Grantham


In hereditary cystic disorders, renal injury begins with the formation of the first cyst. Renal injury may manifest as large kidneys, abdominal pain, hypertension and hematuria in children and young adults with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). In autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD) and ADPKD, cysts form primarily in collecting ducts and expand progressively. Collecting duct cysts that block urine flow have the potential to block urine formation in large numbers of upstream nephrons. In an ARPKD rat congenitally lacking vasopressin, only a few cysts developed until exogenous arginine vasopressin (AVP) was administered. AVP elevates cyclic AMP in vulnerable tubule cells to stimulate mitogenesis and fluid secretion, thereby causing cysts to form and enlarge indefinitely. The administration of an AVP-V2 receptor inhibitor or the consumption of sufficient water to persistently lower plasma AVP levels will ameliorate disease progression. Renal volume measurements provide the most reliable way to forecast long-term outcome in individual children and adult patients with ADPKD. Many drugs that have demonstrated efficacy in small clinical trials, preclinical trials and cell-based studies are in the treatment pipeline. Counseling, regular exercise, limitation of dietary calories, salt, protein and fat, increased fluid intake throughout the day and treatment of hypertension are components of a rational treatment program that can be offered at an early age to those with, or at risk for developing PKD.


Hereditary Polycystin Renal insufficiency Cyclic AMP Kidney volume Nephron obstruction Ciliopathy 


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© IPNA 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Kidney InstituteUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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