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      Renal Transplantation in Patients with Fabry Disease

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          Anderson-Fabry disease (AFd) is a rare X-linked disorder characterized by deficiency of α-galactosidase A that leads to systemic accumulation of neutral glycosphingolipids, predominantly globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), in body fluids and visceral tissues, including the kidney. End-stage renal failure is a common manifestation in hemizygous males that often occurs by the third to fourth decade of life. Usually transplanted patients exhibit improvement in clinical symptoms of the disease, probably related to the production of α-galactosidase A from the grafted kidney, but mainly related to the increase in Gb3 clearance by the functioning kidney, and increased survival of red cells due to the correction of the uremic status with an evident decrease in the production of Gb3 depending from hemolysis. Several Fabry patients with successful kidney graft survived for 10–15 years and died for cardiovascular complications related to the metabolic disease. The loss of grafted kidney is due to rejection, thrombosis or sepsis. An important issue considering renal transplantation in AFd is the recurrence of the disease in the kidney graft; however, no evidence regarding this possibility has occurred up to now. We report herein the ultrastructural study of the urinary sediment of a 35-year-old male Fabry patient with a severe clinical form of the disease with progression to ESRF at age 29, and submitted to renal transplantation at 33 years. Ultrastructural findings of the urinary sediment documented several cells, probably tubular epithelial cells, with typical accumulation of myelinic bodies resulting from intracellular storage of neutral glycosphingolipids. This morphological evidence arises the problem of the possible recurrence of AFd in the kidney graft in patients with severe phenotype of the metabolic disease.

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          Infusion of alpha-galactosidase A reduces tissue globotriaosylceramide storage in patients with Fabry disease.

          Fabry disease is a lysosomal storage disorder caused by a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme alpha-galactosidase A (alpha-gal A). This enzymatic defect results in the accumulation of the glycosphingolipid globotriaosylceramide (Gb(3); also referred to as ceramidetrihexoside) throughout the body. To investigate the effects of purified alpha-gal A, 10 patients with Fabry disease received a single i.v. infusion of one of five escalating dose levels of the enzyme. The objectives of this study were: (i) to evaluate the safety of administered alpha-gal A, (ii) to assess the pharmacokinetics of i.v.-administered alpha-gal A in plasma and liver, and (iii) to determine the effect of this replacement enzyme on hepatic, urine sediment and plasma concentrations of Gb(3). alpha-Gal A infusions were well tolerated in all patients. Immunohistochemical staining of liver tissue approximately 2 days after enzyme infusion identified alpha-gal A in several cell types, including sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells, and hepatocytes, suggesting diffuse uptake via the mannose 6-phosphate receptor. The tissue half-life in the liver was greater than 24 hr. After the single dose of alpha-gal A, nine of the 10 patients had significantly reduced Gb(3) levels both in the liver and shed renal tubular epithelial cells in the urine sediment. These data demonstrate that single infusions of alpha-gal A prepared from transfected human fibroblasts are both safe and biochemically active in patients with Fabry disease. The degree of substrate reduction seen in the study is potentially clinically significant in view of the fact that Gb(3) burden in Fabry patients increases gradually over decades. Taken together, these results suggest that enzyme replacement is likely to be an effective therapy for patients with this metabolic disorder.
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            Renal transplantation in congenital and metabolic diseases. A report from the ASC/NIH renal transplant registry


              Author and article information

              S. Karger AG
              June 2002
              03 June 2002
              : 91
              : 2
              : 348-351
              aUO Nefrologia e Dialisi, bAnatomia Patologica, Vimercate, cAnatomia Patologica, Istituto di Scienze Biomediche, Ospedale Sacco, Università di Milano, dDipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università di Pisa, and eIstituto Neurologico C. Besta, Milano, Italia
              58419 Nephron 2002;91:348–351
              © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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