Prenatal hyperechogenic kidneys in three cases of infantile hypercalcemia associated with SLC34A1 mutations

Pediatr Nephrol. 2018 Oct;33(10):1723-1729. doi: 10.1007/s00467-018-3998-z. Epub 2018 Jun 29.


Background: Prenatal diagnosis of hyperechogenic kidneys is associated with a wide range of etiologies and prognoses. The recent advances in fetal ultrasound associated with the development of next-generation sequencing for molecular analysis have enlarged the spectrum of etiologies, making antenatal diagnosis a very challenging discipline. Of the various known causes of hyperechogenic fetal kidneys, calcium and phosphate metabolism disorders represent a rare cause. An accurate diagnosis is crucial for providing appropriate genetic counseling and medical follow-up after birth.

Methods: We report on three cases of fetal hyperechogenic kidneys corresponding to postnatal diagnosis of nephrocalcinosis. In all cases, antenatal ultrasound showed hyperechogenic kidneys of normal to large size from 22 gestational weeks, with a normal amount of amniotic fluid. Postnatal ultrasound follow-up showed nephrocalcinosis associated with hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, elevated 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D, and suppressed parathyroid hormone levels.

Results: Molecular genetic analysis by next-generation sequencing performed after birth in the three newborns revealed biallelic pathogenic variants in the SLC34A1 gene, encoding the sodium/phosphate cotransporter type 2 (Npt2a), confirming the diagnosis of infantile hypercalcemia.

Conclusions: Nephrocalcinosis due to infantile hypercalcemia can be a cause of fetal hyperechogenic kidneys, which suggests early antenatal anomaly of calcium and phosphate metabolism. This entity should be considered in differential diagnosis. Postnatal follow-up of infants with hyperechogenic kidneys should include evaluation of calcium and phosphate metabolism.

Keywords: Antenatal diagnosis; Infantile hypercalcemia; Nephrocalcinosis; SLC34A1.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / diagnosis*
  • Hypercalcemia / genetics
  • Hypercalcemia / pathology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Nephrocalcinosis / diagnosis*
  • Nephrocalcinosis / genetics
  • Nephrocalcinosis / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins, Type IIa / genetics*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*


  • SLC34A1 protein, human
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins, Type IIa

Supplementary concepts

  • Hypercalcemia, Infantile