Clinical and laboratory findings in the oculocerebrorenal syndrome of Lowe, with special reference to growth and renal function

N Engl J Med. 1991 May 9;324(19):1318-25. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199105093241904.


Background: The oculocerebrorenal syndrome of Lowe is an X-linked disorder whose clinical manifestations include congenital cataracts, mental retardation, and renal tubular dysfunction. We investigated growth, renal function, and serum chemistry values in patients with the oculocerebrorenal syndrome to determine the natural history of the disorder and its heterogeneity with respect to these characteristics.

Methods: Twenty-three patients with the oculocerebrorenal syndrome, ranging in age from 4 months to 31 years, were examined. Height was compared with bone age. Renal function was assessed by measurements of proteinuria, urinary volume, and fractional excretions of potassium, phosphate, carnitine, and amino acids. Creatinine clearance was determined as a measure of glomerular function.

Results: In the oculocerebrorenal syndrome, linear growth decreases after one year of age; bone age lies between chronologic age and height age. Renal dysfunction occurs in the first year of life, characterized by proteinuria (mean [+/- SD], 1.38 +/- 0.77 g of urinary protein per square meter of body-surface area per day; normal, less than or equal to 0.10), generalized aminoaciduria (mean, 686 +/- 505 mumol of urinary amino acid per kilogram of body weight per day; normal, 94 +/- 45), carnitine wasting (mean fractional excretion, 0.10 +/- 0.05; normal, 0.03 +/- 0.01), and phosphaturia progressing into the third decade. Urinary wasting of individual amino acids is milder than in cystinosis, and branched-chain amino acids are relatively spared. Reciprocal serum creatinine levels fall linearly with age, predicting renal failure in the fourth decade. Concentrations of the muscle enzymes creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase, as well as of total serum protein, serum alpha 2-globulin, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, are elevated.

Conclusions: Renal glomerular deterioration is slowly progressive in the oculocerebrorenal syndrome. Renal tubular dysfunction begins early and persists; most patients require alkalinization therapy, and many benefit from supplemental potassium, phosphate, calcium, or carnitine. Serum enzyme elevations suggest muscle involvement in the oculocerebrorenal syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Determination by Skeleton
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Growth*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Oculocerebrorenal Syndrome / complications
  • Oculocerebrorenal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Proteinuria / etiology
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol