Interpretive Handbook

Test 88911 :
Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD), Full Gene Analysis

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is a disorder caused by mutations in the polycystic kidney and hepatic disease 1 (PKHD1) gene. The incidence of ARPKD is approximately 1:20,000 and the estimated carrier frequency in the general population is 1:70. ARPKD is characterized by enlarged echogenic kidneys, congenital hepatic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypoplasia (secondary to oligohydramnios [insufficient volume of amniotic fluid] in utero). Most individuals with ARPKD present during the neonatal period, and of those, nearly one third die of respiratory insufficiency. Early diagnosis, in addition to initiation of renal replacement therapy (dialysis or transplantation) and respiratory support, increases the 10-year survival rate significantly. Presenting symptoms include bilateral palpable flank masses in infants and subsequent observation of typical findings on renal ultrasound, often within the clinical context of hypertension and prenatal oligohydramnios. In rarer cases, individuals may present during childhood or adulthood with hepatosplenomegaly. Of those who survive the neonatal period, one third progress to end-stage renal disease and up to half develop chronic renal insufficiency.


The PKHD1 gene maps to 6p12 and includes 67 exons. The PKHD1 gene encodes a protein called fibrocystin, which is localized to the primary cilia and basal body of renal tubular and biliary epithelial cells. Because ARPKD is an autosomal recessive disease, affected individuals must carry 2 deleterious mutations within the PKHD1 gene. Although disease penetrance is 100%, intrafamilial variation in disease severity has been observed. Mutation detection is often difficult due to the large gene size and the prevalence of private mutations that span the entire length of the gene.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosis of individuals suspected of having autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease


Prenatal diagnosis if there is a high suspicion of ARPKD based on ultrasound findings


Carrier testing of individuals with a family history of ARPKD but an affected individual is not available for testing or disease-causing mutations have not been identified

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

An interpretative report will be provided.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

A small percentage of individuals who are carriers or have a diagnosis of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) may have a mutation that is not identified by this method (eg, large genomic deletions, promoter mutations). The absence of a mutation(s), therefore, does not eliminate the possibility of positive carrier status or the diagnosis of ARPKD. For carrier testing, it is important to first document the presence of a polycystic kidney and hepatic disease 1 (PKHD1) gene mutation in an affected family member.


In some cases, DNA alterations of undetermined significance may be identified.


Rare polymorphisms exist that could lead to false-negative or false-positive results. If results obtained do not match the clinical findings, additional testing should be considered.


A previous bone marrow transplant from an allogenic donor will interfere with testing. Call Mayo Medical Laboratories for instructions for testing patients who have received a bone marrow transplant.  


Test results should be interpreted in the context of clinical findings, family history, and other laboratory data. Errors in our interpretation of results may occur if information given is inaccurate or incomplete.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Guay-Woodford LM, Desmond RA: Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease: the clinical experience in North America. Pediatrics 2003;111:1072-1080

2. Gunay-Aygun M, Avner E, Bacallao RL, et al: Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease and congenital hepatic fibrosis: summary of a first National Institutes of Health/Office of Rare Diseases conference. J Pediatr 2006;149:159-164

3. Harris PC, Rossetti S: Molecular genetics of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease. Mol Genet Metab 2004;81:75-85