Two-tier approach for the detection of alpha-galactosidase A deficiency in kidney transplant recipients

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Anderson–Fabry disease (AFD) is an X-linked condition originating from a deficiency in alpha-galactosidase, a lysosomal enzyme. Multi-organ involvement ensues in early adulthood and vital organs are affected: the kidneys, brain, heart. Several reports however suggest that AFD is underdiagnosed.


We screened a kidney transplant population using a two-tier approach. The first tier was the determination of alpha-galactosidase A (AGALA) activity using a dried blood spot on filter paper (DBFP); in the second tier, patients with the lowest alpha-galactosidase levels were further subjected to mutation analysis of the GLA gene.


From the database of 2328 patients, 1233 subjects met the inclusion criteria. Finally, after informed consent, 673 patients were screened (54.5%—395 women and 278 men). DBFP analysis resulted in a mean AGALA of 2.63 ± 2.48 μmol/L/h (2.5 and 97.5 percentile were 0.0001 and 5.07 μmol/L/h, respectively). Eleven patients were subjected to further genetic analysis. In a male patient a pathogenic missense mutation p.Ala143Thr (c.427A>G) was identified.


Our results show that the proposed approach can detect AFD patients in a until now seldomly screened high-risk group: kidney transplant patients. We conclude that screening for AFD in high-risk populations is a cost-effective, technically feasible and clinically valuable objective.

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