Lysosome dysfunction in the pathogenesis of kidney diseases

Pediatr Nephrol. 2014 Dec;29(12):2253-61. doi: 10.1007/s00467-013-2652-z. Epub 2013 Nov 12.


The lysosome, an organelle central to macromolecule degradation and recycling, plays a pivotal role in normal cell processes, ranging from autophagy to redox regulation. Not surprisingly, lysosomes are an integral part of the renal epithelial molecular machinery that facilitates normal renal physiology. Two inherited diseases that manifest as kidney dysfunction are Fabry's disease and cystinosis, each of which is caused by a primary biochemical defect at the lysosome resulting from loss-of-function mutations in genes that encode lysosomal proteins. The functions of the lysosomes in the kidney and how lysosomal dysfunction might contribute to Fabry's disease and cystinosis are discussed. Unlike most other pediatric renal diseases, therapies are available for Fabry's disease and cystinosis, but require early diagnosis. Recent analysis of ceroid neuronal lipofuscinosis type 3 (Cln3) null mice, a mouse model of lysosomal disease that is primarily associated with neurological deficits, revealed renal functional abnormalities. As current and future therapeutics increase the life-span of those suffering from diseases like neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, it remains a distinct possibility that many more lysosomal disorders that primarily manifest as infant and juvenile neurodegenerative diseases may also include renal disease phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases*
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases*
  • Lysosomes*