Switch in FGFR3 and -4 Expression Profile During Human Renal Development May Account for Transient Hypercalcemia in Patients With Sotos Syndrome due to 5q35 Microdeletions

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Abstract

Context:

Sotos syndrome is a rare genetic disorder with a distinct phenotypic spectrum including overgrowth and learning difficulties. Here we describe a new case of Sotos syndrome with a 5q35 microdeletion, affecting the fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) gene, presenting with infantile hypercalcemia.

Objective:

We strove to elucidate the evanescent nature of the observed hypercalcemia by studying the ontogenesis of FGFR3 and FGFR4, which are both associated with fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 23-mediated mineral homeostasis, in the developing human kidney.

Design:

Quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analyses were used on archival human kidney samples to investigate the expression of the FGFR signaling pathway during renal development.

Results:

We demonstrated that renal gene and protein expression of both FGFRs increased during fetal development between the gestational ages (GAs) of 14–40 weeks. Yet FGFR4 expression increased more rapidly as compared with FGFR3 (slope 0.047 vs 0.0075, P = .0018). Moreover, gene and protein expression of the essential FGFR coreceptor, Klotho, also increased with a significant positive correlation between FGFR and Klotho mRNA expression during renal development. Interestingly, we found that perinatal FGFR4 expression (GA 38–40 wk) was 7-fold higher as compared with FGFR3 (P = .0035), whereas in adult kidney tissues, FGFR4 gene expression level was more than 2-fold lower compared with FGFR3 (P = .0029), thus identifying a molecular developmental switch of FGFR isoforms.

Conclusion:

We propose that the heterozygous FGFR4 deletion, as observed in the Sotos syndrome patient, leads to a compromised FGF23 signaling during infancy accounting for transient hypercalcemia. These findings represent a novel and intriguing view on FGF23 mediated calcium homeostasis.

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