Background: Alport syndrome (ATS) is a hereditary progressive hematuric nephropathy associated with sensorineural deafness and ocular abnormalities, which is caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene (X-linked ATS) and in two autosomal genes, COL4A4 and COL4A3, responsible of both recessive ATS and, when present in heterozygosity, of a spectrum of phenotypes ranging from isolated hematuria to frank renal disease. Methods: Retrospective analysis of the clinical and genetic features of 76 patients from 34 unrelated ATS families (11 with mutations in COL4A5, 11 in COL4A3, and 12 in COL4A4) and genotype/phenotype correlation for the COL4A3/COL4A4 heterozygotes (34 patients from 14 families). Results: Eight (24%) of the 34 heterozygous COL4A3 and COL4A4 carriers developed renal failure at a mean age of 57 years, with a significantly lower risk than hemizygous COL4A5 or double heterozygous COL4A3/COL4A4 carriers (p < 0.01), but not different from that of the heterozygous COL4A5 females (p = 0.6). Heterozygous carriers of frameshift/splicing variants in COL4A3/COL4A4 presented a higher risk of developing renal failure than those with missense variants in the glycine domains (p = 0.015). Conclusion: The renal functional prognosis of patients with COL4A3/COL4A4-positive ATS recapitulates that of the X-linked ATS forms, with differences between heterozygous vs. double heterozygous patients and between carriers of loss-of-function vs. missense variants.
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