COL4A3/COL4A4 mutations and features in individuals with autosomal recessive Alport syndrome

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Dec;24(12):1945-54. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012100985. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


Alport syndrome is an inherited disease characterized by hematuria, progressive renal failure, hearing loss, and ocular abnormalities. Autosomal recessive Alport syndrome is suspected in consanguineous families and when female patients develop renal failure. Fifteen percent of patients with Alport syndrome have autosomal recessive inheritance caused by two pathogenic mutations in either COL4A3 or COL4A4. Here, we describe the mutations and clinical features in 40 individuals including 9 children and 21 female individuals (53%) with autosomal recessive inheritance indicated by the detection of two mutations. The median age was 31 years (range, 6-54 years). The median age at end stage renal failure was 22.5 years (range, 10-38 years), but renal function was normal in nine adults (29%). Hearing loss and ocular abnormalities were common (23 of 35 patients [66%] and 10 of 18 patients [56%], respectively). Twenty mutation pairs (50%) affected COL4A3 and 20 pairs affected COL4A4. Of the 68 variants identified, 39 were novel, 12 were homozygous changes, and 9 were present in multiple individuals, including c.2906C>G (p.(Ser969*)) in COL4A4, which was found in 23% of the patients. Thirty-six variants (53%) resulted directly or indirectly in a stop codon, and all 17 individuals with early onset renal failure had at least one such mutation, whereas these mutations were less common in patients with normal renal function or late-onset renal failure. In conclusion, patient phenotypes may vary depending on the underlying mutations, and genetic testing should be considered for the routine diagnosis of autosomal recessive Alport syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autoantigens / genetics*
  • Child
  • Collagen Type IV / genetics*
  • Eye Diseases / genetics
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Genes, Recessive / genetics
  • Genetic Testing
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / genetics
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Nephritis, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Nephritis, Hereditary / physiopathology*
  • Phenotype
  • Young Adult


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