Adenine Phosphoribosyltransferase Deficiency

In: GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993.
[updated ].


Clinical characteristics: Adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT) deficiency is characterized by excessive production and renal excretion of 2,8-dihydroxyadenine (DHA), which leads to kidney stone formation and crystal-induced kidney damage (i.e., DHA crystal nephropathy) causing acute kidney injury episodes and progressive chronic kidney disease (CKD). Kidney stones, the most common clinical manifestation of APRT deficiency, can occur at any age; in at least 50% of affected persons symptoms do not occur until adulthood. If adequate treatment is not provided, approximately 20%-25% of affected individuals develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD), usually in adult life.

Diagnosis/testing: The diagnosis of APRT deficiency is established in a proband by absence of APRT enzyme activity in red cell lysates or identification of biallelic pathogenic variants in APRT. The detection of the characteristic round, brown DHA crystals by urine microscopy is highly suggestive of the disorder.

Management: Treatment of manifestations: Treatment with the xanthine oxidoreductase inhibitors (XOR; xanthine dehydrogenase/oxidase) allopurinol or febuxostat can improve kidney function, even in individuals with advanced CKD. The prescribed dose of allopurinol and febuxostat should not routinely be reduced in affected individuals who have impaired kidney function. Ample fluid intake is advised. Surgical management of DHA nephrolithiasis is the same as for other types of kidney stones. ESRD is treated with dialysis and kidney transplantation. Even after kidney transplantation, treatment with an XOR is recommended.

Surveillance: Measurement of eGFR and urinary DHA excretion (or urine microscopy for assessment of DHA crystalluria) every 6-12 months; routine follow up to facilitate adherence to pharmacologic treatment at least annually; periodic renal ultrasound examination should be considered to evaluate for new asymptomatic kidney stones.

Agents/circumstances to avoid: Azathioprine and mercaptopurine should not be given to individuals taking either allopurinol or febuxostat.

Evaluation of relatives at risk: It is recommended that sibs of an affected individual undergo APRT enzyme activity measurement or molecular genetic testing (if the pathogenic variants in a family have been identified) to allow early diagnosis and treatment and improve long-term outcome.

Pregnancy management: The safety of allopurinol and febuxostat in human pregnancy has not been systematically studied. Some post-transplantation immunosuppressive therapies can have adverse effects on the developing fetus. Ideally a thorough discussion of the risks and benefits of maternal medication use during pregnancy should take place with an appropriate health care provider prior to conception.

Genetic counseling: APRT deficiency is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. At conception, each sib of an affected individual has a 25% chance of being affected, a 50% chance of being an asymptomatic carrier, and a 25% chance of being normal. Carrier testing for at-risk relatives and prenatal testing for a pregnancy at increased risk are possible if the pathogenic variants in the family have been identified.

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