Challenges in Diagnosing Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia in a Brazilian Tertiary Hospital

Genes (Basel). 2022 Jul 15;13(7):1252. doi: 10.3390/genes13071252.


Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) causes cellular cilia motility alterations, leading to clinical manifestations in the upper and lower respiratory tract and situs abnormalities. The PCD diagnosis was improved after the inclusion of diagnostic tools, such as transmission electron microscopy and genetic screening; however, the PCD screening is a challenge yet. In this context, we aimed to describe the clinical, genetic, and ultra-ciliary characteristics in individuals with clinical suspicion of PCD (cPCD) from a Brazilian Tertiary Hospital. An observational study was carried out with individuals during the follow-up between 2011 and 2021. The individuals were submitted to clinical questionnaires, transmission electron microscopy, and genetic screening for pathogenic variants in PCD-related genes. Those patients were classified according to the degree of suspicion for PCD. In our study, we enrolled thirty-seven cPCD individuals; 20/37 (54.1%) had chronic rhinosinusitis, 28/37 (75.6%) had bronchiectasis, and 29/37 (78.4%) had recurrent pneumonia. A total of 17/37 (45.9%) individuals had transmission electron microscopy or genetic confirmation of PCD; 10 individuals had at least one positive pathogenic genetic variant in the PCD-related genes; however, only seven patients presented a conclusive result according to the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the Association for Molecular Pathology with two pathogenic variants in homozygous or compound heterozygous. The median age at diagnosis was 13 years, and the median time between suspicion and diagnosis was four years. Sixteen patients had class I electron microscopy alterations, seven had class II alterations, and 14 had normal transmission electron microscopy according to the international consensus guideline for reporting transmission electron microscopy results in the diagnosis of PCD (BEAT-PCD TEM Criteria). Genetic screening for pathogenic variants in PCD-related genes and transmission electron microscopy can help determine the PCD diagnosis; however, they are still unavailable to all individuals with clinical suspicion in Brazil. We described ultrastructural alterations found in our population along with the identification of pathogenic variants in PCD-related genes.

Keywords: Kartagener syndrome; bronchiectasis; ciliary motility disorders; genetic testing; microscopy; sinusitis; transmission electron microscopy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cilia
  • Humans
  • Kartagener Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Kartagener Syndrome* / genetics
  • Kartagener Syndrome* / pathology
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Tertiary Care Centers

Grants and funding

This study was financed in part by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq: #471078/2014-0 and #302608/2016-8) and the São Paulo research Foundation (FAPESP: #2015/12858-5).