Familial juvenile nephronophthisis (NPH) is an autosomal recessive tubulointerstitial kidney disease associated with formation of medullary and corticomedullary cysts. It progresses to end stage renal failure and its biochemical defect is unknown. An NPH locus has been assigned to a 2 cM interval on chromosome 2q13 by linkage studies. Homozygous deletions of approximately 250 kb have been detected in 80% of familial cases and 65% of sporadic cases and a common mutation mechanism has been suggested. We examined 14 Finnish families for the presence or absence of a deletion. After detecting a deletion in 12 patients belonging to nine families, we studied a possible founder effect by haplotype analysis using markers D2S340, D2S1889, and D2S1893. No common ancestral disease associated haplotype was found suggesting no founder effect. Results of pairwise linkage analyses were suggestive of linkage in the nine families with a deletion (lod scores of 1.39-3.89 at a recombination fraction of 0). Negative lod scores were obtained in the five families without a deletion suggesting that the disease locus in these families lies elsewhere. The end stage renal disease occurred at a more advanced age in patients without a deletion compared to patients with a deletion, indicating a phenotypic difference between these two groups.
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