Mutations of NPHP2 and NPHP3 in infantile nephronophthisis

Kidney Int. 2009 Apr;75(8):839-47. doi: 10.1038/ki.2008.662. Epub 2009 Jan 28.


Nephronophthisis is an autosomal recessive chronic tubulointerstitial disease that progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in about 10% of cases during infancy. Mutations in the INVS (NPHP2) gene were found in a few patients with infantile nephronophthisis. Mutations of NPHP3, known to be associated with adolescent nephronophthisis, were found in two patients with early-onset ESRD. Here we screened 43 families with infantile nephronophthisis (ESRD less than 5 years of age) for NPHP2 and NPHP3 mutations and determined genotype-phenotype correlations. In this cohort there were 16 families with NPHP2 mutations and NPHP3 mutations in seven. Three patients carried only one heterozygous mutation in NPHP3. ESRD arose during the first 2 years of life in 16 of 18 patients with mutations in NPHP2, but in only two patients with mutations in NPHP3. Renal morphology, characterized by hyper-echogenic kidneys on ultrasound and tubular lesions with interstitial fibrosis on histology, was similar in the two patient groups. The kidney sizes were highly diverse and ultrasound-visualized cysts were present in a minority of cases. Extra-renal anomalies were found in 80% of the entire cohort including hepatic involvement (50%), cardiac valve or septal defects (20%) and recurrent bronchial infections (18%). We show that NPHP3 mutations in both infantile and adolescent nephronophthisis point to a common pathophysiological mechanism despite their different clinical presentations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Family Health
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / genetics
  • Kinesins / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • INVS protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • nephrocystin-3, human
  • Kinesins