Other Names for this Disease
- Alport syndrome, X-linked
- Congenital hereditary hematuria
- Hemorrhagic familial nephritis
- Hemorrhagic hereditary nephritis
What causes Alport syndrome?
How is Alport syndrome inherited?
How might Alport syndrome be treated?
Type IV collagen is also an important component of the organ of Corti, an inner ear structure that transforms sound waves into nerve impulses for the brain. Alterations in type IV collagen may result in abnormal inner ear function, which can lead to hearing loss. In addition, type IV collagen plays a role in the eye, where it helps maintain the shape of the lens and the normal color of the retina. Mutations found in Alport syndrome may affect the shape of the lenses and the color of the retina.
In approximately 15 percent of cases, Alport syndrome results from mutations in both copies of the COL4A3 or COL4A4 gene and is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. The parents of an individual with the autosomal recessive form of this condition each have one copy of the mutated gene and are called carriers. Some carriers are unaffected and others develop a less severe condition called thin basement membrane nephropathy, which is characterized by hematuria.
Alport syndrome has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance in about 5 percent of cases. People with this form of Alport syndrome have one mutation in either the COL4A3 or COL4A4 gene in each cell. It remains unclear why some individuals with one mutation in the COL4A3 or COL4A4 gene have autosomal dominant Alport syndrome and others have thin basement membrane nephropathy.
Other aspects of the condition are addressed as needed. For instance, surgical repair of cataracts (cataract extraction), or repair of the anterior lenticonus in the eye may be needed. Loss of hearing is likely to be permanent. Counseling and education to increase coping skills can be helpful. Learning new skills such as lip reading or sign language may be of some benefit. Hearing aids are helpful. Young men with Alport syndrome should use hearing protection in noisy environments. Genetic counseling may be recommended because of the inherited pattern of the disorder.
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- Ramesh Saxena, MD, PhD. Alport Syndrome. Medscape Reference. August 12, 2013; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/238260-treatment#showall. Accessed 1/30/2014.
- Dugdale DC, Lin HY. Alport syndrome. MedlinePlus. 2009; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000504.htm. Accessed 7/12/2011.
- Sessa A, Meroni M. Alport syndrome. Orphanet. 2007; http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?Lng=EN&Expert=63. Accessed 7/12/2011.