Autosomal Dominant Tubulointerstitial Kidney Disease—Uromodulin Misclassified as Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis or Hereditary Glomerular Disease

Justin Chun, Minxian Wang, Maris S. Wilkins, Andrea U. Knob, Ava Benjamin, Lihong Bu, Martin R. Pollak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a histopathologically defined kidney lesion. FSGS can be observed with various underlying causes, including highly penetrant monogenic renal disease. We recently identified pathogenic variants of UMOD, a gene encoding the tubular protein uromodulin, in 8 families with suspected glomerular disease. Methods: To validate pathogenic variants of UMOD, we reviewed the clinical and pathology reports of members of 8 families identified to have variants of UMOD. Clinical, laboratory, and pathologic data were collected, and genetic confirmation for UMOD was performed by Sanger sequencing. Results: Biopsy-proven cases of FSGS were verified in 21% (7 of 34) of patients with UMOD variants. The UMOD variants seen in 7 families were mutations previously reported in autosomal dominant tubulointerstitial kidney disease-uromodulin (ADTKD-UMOD). For one family with 3 generations affected, we identified p.R79G in a noncanonical transcript variant of UMOD co-segregating with disease. Consistent with ADTKD, most patients in our study presented with autosomal dominant inheritance, subnephrotic range proteinuria, minimal hematuria, and renal impairment. Kidney biopsies showed histologic features of glomerular injury consistent with secondary FSGS, including focal sclerosis and partial podocyte foot process effacement. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that with the use of standard clinical testing and kidney biopsy, clinicians were unable to make the diagnosis of ADTKD-UMOD; patients were often labeled with a clinical diagnosis of FSGS. We show that genetic testing can establish the diagnosis of ADTKD-UMOD with secondary FSGS. Genetic testing in individuals with FSGS histology should not be limited to genes that directly impair podocyte function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
JournalKidney International Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the study participants. This work was by supported by National Institutes of Health grant 5R01DK054931 to MRP. JC was supported by an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Clinician Fellowship and the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) Postdoctoral Fellowship program. We thank the KRESCENT program and Dr. Moumita Barua for critical reading of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society of Nephrology


  • FSGS
  • UMOD
  • UMOD-associated kidney disease
  • autosomal dominant tubulointerstitial kidney disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • exome sequencing
  • glomerular disease
  • uromodulin


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