Alport syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by kidney disease, hearing loss, and eye abnormalities. People with Alport syndrome experience progressive loss of kidney function. Almost all affected individuals have blood in their urine (hematuria), which indicates abnormal functioning of the kidneys.
What are the signs and symptoms of Alport syndrome?
Blood in the urine (hematuria), the most common and earliest sign of Alport syndrome.
Protein in the urine (proteinuria)
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Swelling in the legs, ankle, feet and around the eyes (called edema)
There is currently no cure for Alport syndrome. However, research is ongoing to determine potential treatments that may delay end-stage renal disease and increase life expectancy in males with X-linked recessive Alport syndrome.
Alport syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by kidney disease, hearing loss, and eye abnormalities.
People with Alport syndrome experience progressive loss of kidney function. Almost all affected individuals have blood in their urine (hematuria), which indicates abnormal functioning of the kidneys. Many people with Alport syndrome also develop high levels of protein in their urine (proteinuria). The kidneys become less able to function as this condition progresses, resulting in end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
People with Alport syndrome frequently develop sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by abnormalities of the inner ear, during late childhood or early adolescence. Affected individuals may also have misshapen lenses in the eyes (anterior lenticonus) and abnormal coloration of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). These eye abnormalities seldom lead to vision loss.
Significant hearing loss, eye abnormalities, and progressive kidney disease are more common in males with Alport syndrome than in affected females.
As a rare disease, the prevalence of Alport syndrome is not well-known, although it is estimated to be 1 in every 50,000 live births worldwide. In the U.S., it is believed to affect 1 in every 5,000 people, while across Europe that estimate ranges from 1 in 100,000 people to 1 in every 11,000.
Alport syndrome is estimated to affect approximately 1 in 5,000-10,000 people in the general population in the United States, which means that approximately 30,000-60,000 people in the United States have the disorder.
Another effective cleansing agent for the kidneys is cranberry juice which supports the urinary tract, fights urinary tract infections, and removes excess calcium oxalate.
In approximately 15 percent of cases, Alport syndrome results from mutations in both copies of the COL4A3 or COL4A4 gene and is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. The parents of an individual with the autosomal recessive form of this condition each have one copy of the mutated gene and are called carriers.
Mutations in the COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5 genes cause Alport syndrome. These genes each provide instructions for making one component of a protein called type IV collagen. This protein plays an important role in the kidneys, specifically in structures called glomeruli. Glomeruli are clusters of specialized blood vessels that remove water and waste products from the blood and create urine. Mutations in these genes result in abnormalities of the type IV collagen in glomeruli, which prevents the kidneys from properly filtering the blood and allows blood and protein to pass into the urine. Gradual scarring of the kidneys occurs, eventually leading to kidney failure in many people with Alport syndrome.
Type IV collagen is also an important component of inner ear structures, particularly the organ of Corti, that transform sound waves into nerve impulses for the brain. Alterations in type IV collagen often result in abnormal inner ear function, which can lead to hearing loss. In the eye, this protein is important for maintaining the shape of the lens and the normal color of the retina. Mutations that disrupt type IV collagen can result in misshapen