Renal manifestation of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease affects over 12 million people in the world and is the fourth cause of ESRD. It is the main monogenic kidney disease and causes the progressive formation of cysts leading to renal failure after a few decades. The main manifestations of the disease are observed even at a young age.
The early sign of ADPKD is impaired urinary concentrating capacity, due to medullary alteration by cysts, and resistance to vasopressin.
These anatomical alterations determine hyperfiltration, altered ammonium transport, nephrolithiasis, and, above all, hypertension even in pediatric age. Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system has been shown responsible for the maintenance of high pressure values as well as the growth of cysts and renal fibrosis. Arterial hypertension would be responsible for ventricular hypertrophy.
Many recent studies have confirmed the role of pressure control, especially if rigorous, in decreasing the progression of renal disease, and the use of ACE inhibitors seems to have higher efficacy than other antihypertensive drugs.
The progression of renal disease is evidenced by the reduction of glomerular filtration which may be minimal in the early years, due to hyperfiltration, but, then, may even exceed 5 ml / min per year, especially when the total kidney volume (TKV) exceeds 1500 ml.
In more rapid progression forms, ESRD may appear at about 55 years of age. The main risk factors are age, genetic mutation, familiarity with ESRD, macrohematuria episodes, and early onset hypertension. Some authors have proposed both genetic and clinical scores that can provide guidance on the probability of rapid progression.
Other renal manifestations include kidney pain, nephrolithiasis, urinary tract infections and cyst hemorrhage. Renal cell carcinoma is a very rare event.


Keywords: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, hypertension, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, compensatory hyperfiltration, renal volume, ESRD.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.


Il rene policistico rappresenta la malattia ereditaria monogenica più frequente in ambito nefrologico. Ne sono affetti circa 12,5 milioni di individui nel mondo ed è la quarta causa di insufficienza renale terminale dopo il diabete, l’ipertensione e le glomerulonefriti (1). 

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