Renal cystic disease and associated ciliopathies

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Purpose of review

To review disorders that are associated with renal cystic disease during prenatal life and to highlight the strong association between renal cystic disease and ciliopathies.

Recent findings

There are numerous causative genes for ciliopathies that can present with cystic kidney disease. In the group of single gene ciliopathies, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is by far the most prevalent one. Other examples are autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, nephronophthisis, Bardet–Biedl syndrome, Meckel–Gruber syndrome, Joubert syndrome and related disorders as well as X-linked orofaciodigital syndrome type 1, respectively. The prevalence of these inherited disorders sums up to about in 1 : 2000 people. These disorders with their hepatorenal fibrocystic character should be classified as multisystem diseases.


Understanding of the origin of renal cystic disease and associated disorders is important to make the appropriate prenatal diagnosis and for counseling affected parents. In the future, understanding of the pathophysiology may help to develop new treatment strategies.

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