[From Alport syndrome to benign familial hematuria: clinical and genetic aspect]

Nephrol Ther. 2005 May;1(2):90-100. doi: 10.1016/j.nephro.2005.03.005. Epub 2005 Jun 1.
[Article in French]


Alport syndrome (AS) is a hereditary glomerulonephritis variably associated with neural hearing loss and ocular abnormalities. The prevalence of the disease is estimated at approximately 1 in 50,000 live births. AS arises from mutations in genes encoding alpha chains constituting type IV collagen. In 85% of patients, the disease results from mutations in the COL4A5 gene located on X chromosome. In the hemizygous male, persistent microhematuria is present from early life, then proteinuria and renal insufficiency occur with time, leading to end-stage renal failure before age 40. In the heterozygous female, clinical manifestations vary from completely healthy state to end-stage renal failure, most often reached after the age of 40. In 15% of patients, the disease results from mutations in either the COL4A3 or the COL4A4 gene, both located on chromosome 2. When both alleles are mutated (autosomal recessive form), the phenotype is constantly severe, resembling that of the hemizygous male in the X-linked form. In the heterozygous individual, the clinical spectrum vary from the absence of any manifestation to the development of proteinuria - the so-called autosomal-dominant AS -, and even renal insufficiency, sometimes reaching end-stage (after the age of 40) through the most frequently encountered phenotype, i.e. a persistently isolated microhematuria, accounting for the so-called benign familial hematuria (or healthy carrier state). The determinants of the phenotype remain largely unknown, so that it may be risky to predict renal prognosis in the individual with a single COL4A3/A4 mutation and an isolated microhematuria at the time of examination.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantigens / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y
  • Collagen Type IV / genetics*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Hematuria / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Nephritis, Hereditary / diagnosis
  • Nephritis, Hereditary / epidemiology
  • Nephritis, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Nephritis, Hereditary / physiopathology*
  • Prevalence
  • Proteinuria / etiology


  • Autoantigens
  • COL4A4 protein, human
  • Collagen Type IV
  • type IV collagen alpha3 chain