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Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2019 Jul-Sep;62(3):457-460. doi: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_623_18.

Nephropathic cystinosis presenting with uveitis: Report of a "Can't See, Can't Pee" situation.

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Central Electron Microscopy Facility, Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Nephrology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of General Pathology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.


Nephropathic cystinosis is a rare autosomal recessive lysosomal disease characterized by accumulation of pathognomonic cystine crystals in renal and other tissues of the body. Cystinosis is caused by mutant cystinosin, the cystine transport protein located in lysosomal membranes, leading to systemic deposits of cystine and resultant end organ damage. Cystinosis is rarer in Asians than Caucasians with only a handful of cases reported from India to date. Due to its extreme rarity and clinically insidious presentation in contrast to the infantile form, the diagnosis of juvenile nephropathic cystinosis is frequently delayed or overlooked. Moreover, routine processing and sectioning of paraffin embedded tissues dissolves cystine crystals, making it difficult to diagnose this condition on light microscopic examination alone, mandating electron microscopic (EM) analysis of renal biopsies for an accurate diagnosis of this condition. We describe a case of juvenile nephropathic cystinosis presenting with uveitis and photophobia in a 17-year-old Indian male, diagnosed after EM examination of the patient's renal biopsy for evaluation of nephrotic syndrome. While highlighting the diagnostic utility of EM, we describe a few histopathologic clues which can prompt inclusion of EM analysis of renal biopsies in this setting.


CTNS gene; cysteamine; cystinosis; lysosomal diseases; nephropathic cystinosis

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