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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Fabry nephropathy: a review – how can we optimize the management of Fabry nephropathy?

Stephen Waldek1* and Sandro Feriozzi2

Author Affiliations

1 31 Harboro Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 5AN, UK

2 Department of Nephrology and Dialysis, Belcolle Hospital, Viterbo, Italy

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BMC Nephrology 2014, 15:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-72

Published: 6 May 2014

Abstract

Fabry disease is a rare, X-linked, lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the gene encoding the enzyme alpha-galactosidase A. Complete or partial deficiency in this enzyme leads to intracellular accumulation of globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) and related glycosphingolipids in many cell types throughout the body, including the kidney. Progressive accumulation of Gb3 in podocytes, epithelial cells and the tubular cells of the distal tubule and loop of Henle contribute to the renal symptoms of Fabry disease, which manifest as proteinuria and reduced glomerular filtration rate leading to chronic kidney disease and progression to end-stage renal disease. Early diagnosis and timely initiation of treatment of Fabry renal disease is an important facet of disease management. Initiating treatment with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT; agalsidase alfa, Replagal®, Shire; agalsidase beta, Fabrazyme®, Genzyme) as part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent complications of the disease, may be beneficial in stabilizing renal function or slowing its decline. Early initiation of ERT may also be more effective than initiating therapy in patients with more advanced disease. Several strategies are required to complement the use of ERT and treat the myriad of associated symptoms and organ involvements. In particular, patients with renal Fabry disease are at risk of cardiovascular events, such as high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias and stroke. This review discusses the management of renal involvement in Fabry disease, including diagnosis, treatments, and follow-up, and explores recent advances in the use of biomarkers to assist with diagnosis, monitoring disease progression and response to treatment.

Keywords:
Fabry disease; Diagnosis; Management; Nephropathy; Enzyme replacement therapy