Alström syndrome: Renal findings in correlation with obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and cardiomyopathy in 38 patients prospectively evaluated at the NIH clinical center.

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Mol Genet Metab 2018 Sep; 125(1-2):181-191








Alström Syndrome is a ciliopathy associated with obesity, insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiomyopathy, retinal degeneration, hearing loss, progressive liver and kidney disease, and normal cognitive function. ALMS1, the protein defective in this disorder, localizes to the cytoskeleton, microtubule organizing center, as well as the centrosomes and ciliary basal bodies and plays roles in formation and maintenance of cilia, cell cycle regulation, and endosomal trafficking. Kidney disease in this disorder has not been well characterized. We performed comprehensive multisystem evaluations on 38 patients. Kidney function decreased progressively; eGFR varied inversely with age (p = 0.002). Eighteen percent met the definition for chronic kidney disease (eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and proteinuria); all were adults with median age of 32.8 (20.6-37.9) years. After adjusting for age, there were no significant associations of kidney dysfunction with type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, hypertension, cardiomyopathy or portal hypertension suggesting that kidney disease in AS is a primary manifestation of the syndrome due to lack of ALMS1 protein. Approximately one-third of patients had hyperechogenicity of the renal parenchyma on imaging. While strict control of type 2 diabetes mellitus may decrease kidney-related morbidity and mortality in Alström syndrome, identification of novel targeted therapies is needed.


This paper is dedicated to the memory of our colleague, Jan Davis Marshall, who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of patients with Alström syndrome and made numerous important scientific contributions during her lifelong career at The Jackson Laboratory.