From the radiologic pathology archives: pediatric polycystic kidney disease and other ciliopathies: radiologic-pathologic correlation

Radiographics. 2014 Jan-Feb;34(1):155-78. doi: 10.1148/rg.341135179.


Genetic defects of cilia cause a wide range of diseases, collectively known as ciliopathies. Primary, or nonmotile, cilia function as sensory organelles involved in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and homeostasis. Cilia are present in nearly every cell in the body and mutations of genes encoding ciliary proteins affect multiple organs, including the kidneys, liver, pancreas, retina, central nervous system (CNS), and skeletal system. Genetic mutations causing ciliary dysfunction result in a large number of heterogeneous phenotypes that can manifest with a variety of overlapping abnormalities in multiple organ systems. Renal manifestations of ciliopathies are the most common abnormalities and include collecting duct dilatation and cyst formation in autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD), cyst formation anywhere in the nephron in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in nephronophthisis, as well as in several CNS and skeletal malformation syndromes. Hepatic disease is another common manifestation of ciliopathies, ranging from duct dilatation and cyst formation in ARPKD and ADPKD to periportal fibrosis in ARPKD and several malformation syndromes. The unifying molecular pathogenesis of this emerging class of disorders explains the overlap of abnormalities in disparate organ systems and links diseases of widely varied clinical features. It is important for radiologists to be able to recognize the multisystem manifestations of these syndromes, as imaging plays an important role in diagnosis and follow-up of affected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Cysts / diagnosis*
  • Bone Cysts / genetics
  • Central Nervous System Cysts / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Cysts / genetics
  • Child
  • Choledochal Cyst / diagnosis*
  • Choledochal Cyst / genetics
  • Cilia
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / genetics
  • Male
  • Statistics as Topic