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Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2015 Sep 15;2:31. doi: 10.1186/s40697-015-0069-2. eCollection 2015.

Recurrence of crystalline nephropathy after kidney transplantation in APRT deficiency and primary hyperoxaluria.

Author information

Division of Nephrology and Research Centre of the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal and Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec Canada ; Division of Nephrology, Hôpital Notre Dame, 1560 Sherbrooke Street East, Montreal, QC H2L 4 M1 Canada.
Centre de Référence des Maladies Rénales Rares, Hospices Civils de Lyon and Université Claude-Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France.
Service d'Explorations Fonctionnelles, AP-HP, Hôpital Tenon, Paris, France.


in English, French


To provide transplant physicians with a summary of the pathogenesis and diagnosis of adenine phosphoribosyl transferase (APRT) deficiency and primary hyperoxaluria and, focussed on kidney transplantation, and to discuss interventions aimed at preventing and treating the recurrence of crystalline nephropathy in renal transplant recipients.


Pubmed literature search.


Primary hyperoxaluria and APRT deficiency are rare inborn errors of human metabolism. The hallmark of these diseases is the overproduction and urinary excretion of compounds (2,8 dihydroxyadenine in APRT deficiency, oxalate in primary hyperoxaluria) that form urinary crystals. Although recurrent urolithiasis represents the main clinical feature of these diseases, kidney injury can occur as a result of crystal precipitation within the tubules and interstitium, a condition referred to as crystalline nephropathy. Some patients develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and may become candidates for kidney transplantation. Since kidney transplantation does not correct the underlying metabolic defect, transplant recipients have a high risk of recurrence of crystalline nephropathy, which can lead to graft loss. In some instances, the disease remains undiagnosed until after the occurrence of ESRD or even after kidney transplantation.


Patients with APRT deficiency or primary hyperoxaluria may develop ESRD as a result of crystalline nephropathy. In the absence of diagnosis and adequate management, the disease is likely to recur after kidney transplantation, which often leads to rapid loss of renal allograft function. Primary hyperoxaluria, but not APRT deficiency, becomes a systemic disease at low GFR with oxalate deposition leading to malfunction in non-renal organs (systemic oxalosis). We suggest that these diagnoses should be considered in patients with low glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a history of kidney stones. In APRT deficiency, stones may be confused with uric acid stones, unless specialized techniques are used (infrared spectroscopy or X-ray crystallography for urinary crystals or stone analysis; Fourier transform infrared microscopy for crystals in kidney biopsy). Where these are unavailable, and for confirmation, the diagnosis can be made by measurement of enzyme activity in red blood cell lysates or by genetic testing. In patients with primary hyperoxaluria, levels of urinary and plasma oxalate; and the presence of nearly pure calcium oxalate monohydrate in stones, which often also have an unusually pale colour and unorganized structure, increase diagnostic suspicion. Molecular genetic testing is the criterion measure. Lifelong allopurinol therapy, with high fluid intake if appropriate, may stabilize kidney function in APRT deficiency; if ESRD has occurred or is near, results with kidney transplantation after initiation of allopurinol are excellent. In primary hyperoxaluria recognized before ESRD, pyridoxine treatment and high fluid intake may lead to a substantial decrease in urinary calcium oxalate supersaturation and prevent renal failure. In non-responsive patients or those recognized later in their disease, liver transplantation cures the underlying defect and should be considered when the GFR falls below 30 ml/min/1.73 m(2); in those which or near ESRD, liver transplantation and intensive dialysis before kidney transplantation may be considered to reduce the total body oxalate burden before kidney transplantation.


The availability of diagnostic tests varies between countries and centres. Data on long term outcomes after kidney transplantation are limited, especially for APRT deficiency patients.


Increasing transplant physicians knowledge of APRT deficiency and primary hyperoxaluria should enable them to implement adequate diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, thereby achieving good outcomes after kidney transplantation.

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