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Nat Rev Nephrol. 2013 Mar;9(3):170-8. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2012.259. Epub 2012 Nov 20.

Alport syndrome--insights from basic and clinical research.

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Department of Nephrology and Rheumatology, University Medicine Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Straße 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.


In 1927, Arthur C. Alport first published his description of a triad of symptoms in a family with hereditary congenital haemorrhagic nephritis, deafness and ocular changes. A few years after his death, this group of symptoms was renamed Alport syndrome. To this day, Alport syndrome still inevitably leads to end-stage renal disease and the need for renal replacement therapy, starting in young adulthood. During the past two decades, research into this rare disease has focused on the effects of mutations in collagen type IV and the role of changes in podocytes and the glomerular basement membrane that lead to early kidney fibrosis. Animal models of Alport syndrome also demonstrate the pathogenetic importance of interactions between podocytes and the extracellular matrix. Such models might also help researchers to answer basic questions about podocyte function and the development of fibrosis, and to develop new therapeutic approaches that might be of use in other kidney diseases. In this Review, we discuss the latest basic and clinical research on Alport syndrome, focusing on the roles of podocyte pathology and the extracellular matrix. We also highlight early diagnosis and treatment options for young patients with this disorder.

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