Chronic renal failure, dialysis, and renal transplantation in Anderson-Fabry disease

Semin Nephrol. 2004 Sep;24(5):532-6. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2004.06.024.


Anderson-Fabry disease (AFd) is a rare, inherited, x-linked disease characterized by the deficiency of the lysosomal enzymatic alpha-galactosidase A activity (alpha-Gal-A). The enzyme defect leads to progressive accumulation of glycosphingolipids (GL) in all kinds of cells, tissues, organs, and body fluids. The clinical manifestations are very protean, the residual activity of alpha-Gal-A and/or different gene mutations might explain different phenotypes, but as yet these concepts have not been proven. Usually, patients with AFd show 3 clinical phases, more evident in men than in heterozygous women. The first phase (childhood and adolescence) is characterized by myalgia, arthralgia, acroparesthesia, fever, cutaneous angiokeratomas, and corneal opacities. The second phase is characterized mainly by renal involvement. In the third phase, severe renal impairment and involvement of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular systems are present. The progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is common in hemizygous males (3rd-5th decade of life); usually, death occurs because of cerebral and/or cardiovascular complications in patients undergoing chronic dialysis therapies. The survival of patients with AFd in dialysis is better than in diabetic patients, but it clearly is decreased compared with uremic patients with other nephropathies, despite a lower mean age of uremia (50 versus 60 y). The outcome of kidney transplantation is similar to that found in other patients with ESRD, despite controversial issues published in the past. The use of a kidney donor with normal alpha-Gal-A activity in the control of the metabolic systemic disease is unproven. The recurrence of GL deposits in the kidney graft has been documented rarely. The definitive treatment for AFd is enzyme replacement therapy with purified alpha-Gal-A produced by a genetically engineered human cell line or Chinese hamster oocytes: relatively short-term studies have shown a significant treatment effect on clinical outcome measures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fabry Disease / complications*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • alpha-Galactosidase / therapeutic use


  • alpha-Galactosidase