03 June 2002
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.