Objective: Prenatal ultrasonographic detection of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is of poor reliability, especially in early pregnancy. Molecular genetics allows earlier diagnosis, from 11 weeks of gestation; however, since only indirect diagnosis is possible--the ARPKD gene being localized on chromosome 6 but not identified--the feasibility of molecular diagnosis requires several conditions: definitive diagnosis in the index case, availability of index case and parents' DNA, genetic informativity of the family at the ARPKD locus. Results and limits of this method are analyzed, using a series of 56 requests for prenatal diagnosis.
Results: In eight of the 56 families ARPKD was excluded on the basis of histological (seven cases) and/or genetic (two cases) criteria. Molecular study was impossible in three families due to the lack of index case's DNA, and two other families were non-informative. Among the 43 families in which prenatal diagnosis was feasible, analysis of the haplotype of 35 fetuses issued from 29 families showed that 11 fetuses with the same haplotypes as that of the index case were affected, while 24 were not. No false positive or false negative result was reported.
Conclusions: Early and reliable prenatal diagnosis of recessive polycystic kidney disease is possible in nearly 80% of affected families.