Glomerular involvement in the arthrogryposis, renal dysfunction and cholestasis syndrome

Clin Kidney J. 2013 Apr;6(2):183-8. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfs182. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


Background: Arthrogryposis, renal dysfunction and cholestasis (ARC) syndrome is a multisystem autosomal-recessive disorder caused by defects in the VPS33B and VIPAR genes, involved in localization of apical membrane proteins. Affected children usually die by 1 year of age, often secondary to infective complications. The classic renal manifestation previously described in ARC syndrome is proximal-tubular dysfunction. The aim of this study is to gain further insight into the renal manifestations of this syndrome.

Methods: Clinical review of three cases of ARC syndrome presenting to a tertiary centre. Together with measurement of VPS33B and VIPAR protein expression in the human glomerulus.

Results: The cases demonstrated severe failure to thrive and in addition to commonly described features profound proteinuria and albuminuria, together with hypoalbuminaemia, suggesting glomerular involvement of this syndrome. Western blotting of conditionally immortalized human glomerular cells and ex vivo immunofluorescent analysis of the human glomerulus revealed that VPS33B and VIPAR were highly expressed in glomerular endothelium, and podocytes, but not in the mesangium.

Conclusions: ARC syndrome affects the glomerulus as well as the proximal tubule in the kidney. Our molecular studies suggest that both cell types that constitute the glomerular filtration barrier are affected in this condition, providing an explanation for the albuminuria that we have observed in our cases.

Keywords: ARC syndrome; VIPAR; VPS33B; albuminuria; glomerulus.