Dent disease-1 is a rare X-linked recessive renal tubular disorder caused by pathogenic variants in the chloride voltage-gated channel 5 (CLCN5) gene. It is characterized by low-molecular-weight proteinuria, hypercalciuria, nephrocalcinosis, nephrolithiasis and progressive renal failure. This is the first report of a CLCN5 pathogenic variant in a Dent disease-1 family of Sri Lankan origin, and it highlights the value of genetic evaluation in children with refractory proteinuria.
A 2-year-old boy with non-nephrotic range proteinuria was referred for evaluation. His maternally related 24-year-old uncle had been investigated for similar features at the age of 14 years and his renal histology had shown few sclerosed glomeruli. He remained asymptomatic apart from proteinuria. Biochemical investigation of the child showed β-2 microglobulinuria and hypercalciuria. After providing pre-test counseling and obtaining written informed consent, the child, his mother and maternal uncle underwent genetic testing for confirmation of the clinically suspected diagnosis of Dent disease-1. Both the child and his maternal uncle were found to be hemizygous for a nonsense pathogenic variant in exon 9 of the CLCN5 gene [NM_000084.4; c.1399C>T; rs797044811] which results in a stop codon at residue 467, leading to a truncated non-functional protein [NP_000075.1; p.R467X]. His mother was confirmed to be an unaffected heterozygous carrier for the same variant. Following confirmation of the diagnosis our patient was started on thiazide diuretics and potassium citrate.
Even though the typical phenotype of Dent disease-1 often enables a clinical diagnosis to be made, less severe sub-clinical cases may go undiagnosed. The underlying diagnosis may be missed especially in children who are treated for non-minimal change nephrotic syndrome with steroids. This case highlights the need for tubular proteinuria to be considered in the differential diagnosis of children with refractory proteinuria and for appropriate genetic evaluation to be done to confirm the precise underlying diagnosis in such cases.