QMPSF is sensitive and specific in the detection ofNPHP1heterozygous deletions

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Nephronophthisis, an autosomal recessive nephropathy, is responsible for 10% of childhood chronic renal failure. The deletion of its major gene, NPHP1, with a minor allele frequency of 0.24% in the general population, is the most common mutation leading to a monogenic form of childhood chronic renal failure. It is challenging to detect it in the heterozygous state. We aimed to evaluate the sensitivity and the specificity of the quantitative multiplex PCR of short fluorescent fragments (QMPSF) in its detection.


After setting up the protocol of QMPSF, we validated it on 39 individuals diagnosed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) with normal NPHP1 copy number (n=17), with heterozygous deletion (n=13, seven parents and six patients), or with homozygous deletion (n=9). To assess the rate of the deletions that arise from independent events, deleted alleles were haplotyped.


The results of QMPSF and MLPA correlated perfectly in the identification of 76 heterozygously deleted and 56 homozygously deleted exons. The inter-experimental variability of the dosage quotient obtained by QMPSF was low: control, 1.05 (median; range, 0.86−1.33, n = 102 exons); heterozygous deletion, 0.51 (0.42−0.67, n = 76 exons); homozygous deletion, 0 (0−0, n = 56 exons). All patients harboring a heterozygous deletion were found to carry a hemizygous mutation. At least 15 out of 18 deletions appeared on different haplotypes and one deletion appeared de novo.


The cost- and time-effective QMPSF has a 100% sensitivity and specificity in the detection of NPHP1 deletion. The potential de novo appearance of NPHP1 deletions makes its segregation analysis highly recommended in clinical practice.

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