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Renal tubular acidosis with deafness
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Reviewed March 2014
What is renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
Renal tubular acidosis with deafness is a disorder characterized by kidney (renal) problems and hearing loss. The kidneys normally filter fluid and waste products from the body and remove them in urine; however, in people with this disorder, the kidneys do not remove enough acidic compounds from the body. Instead, the acids are absorbed back into the bloodstream, and the blood becomes too acidic. This chemical imbalance, called metabolic acidosis, can result in a range of signs and symptoms that vary in severity. Metabolic acidosis often causes nausea, vomiting, and dehydration; affected infants tend to have problems feeding and gaining weight (failure to thrive). Most children and adults with renal tubular acidosis with deafness have short stature, and many develop kidney stones.
The metabolic acidosis that occurs in renal tubular acidosis with deafness may also lead to softening and weakening of the bones, called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. This bone disorder is characterized by bone pain, bowed legs, and difficulty walking. Rarely, people with renal tubular acidosis with deafness have episodes of hypokalemic paralysis, a condition that causes extreme muscle weakness associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia).
In people with renal tubular acidosis with deafness, hearing loss caused by changes in the inner ear (sensorineural hearing loss) usually begins between childhood and young adulthood, and gradually gets worse. An inner ear abnormality affecting both ears occurs in most people with this disorder. This feature, which is called enlarged vestibular aqueduct, can be seen with medical imaging. The vestibular aqueduct is a bony canal that runs from the inner ear into the temporal bone of the skull and toward the brain. The relationship between enlarged vestibular aqueduct and hearing loss is unclear. In renal tubular acidosis with deafness, enlarged vestibular aqueduct typically occurs in individuals whose hearing loss begins in childhood.
How common is renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
Renal tubular acidosis with deafness is a rare disorder; its prevalence is unknown.
What genes are related to renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
Renal tubular acidosis with deafness is caused by mutations in the ATP6V1B1 or ATP6V0A4 gene. These genes provide instructions for making proteins that are parts (subunits) of a large protein complex known as vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase). V-ATPases are a group of similar complexes that act as pumps to move positively charged hydrogen atoms (protons) across membranes. Because acids are substances that can "donate" protons to other molecules, this movement of protons helps regulate the relative acidity (pH) of cells and their surrounding environment. Tight control of pH is necessary for most biological reactions to proceed properly.
The V-ATPase that includes subunits produced from the ATP6V1B1 and ATP6V0A4 genes is found in the inner ear and in nephrons, which are the functional structures within the kidneys. Each nephron consists of two parts: a renal corpuscle (also known as a glomerulus) that filters the blood, and a renal tubule that reabsorbs substances that are needed and eliminates unneeded substances in urine. The V-ATPase is involved in regulating the amount of acid that is removed from the blood into the urine, and also in maintaining the proper pH of the fluid in the inner ear (endolymph).
Mutations in the ATP6V1B1 or ATP6V0A4 gene impair the function of the V-ATPase complex and reduce the body's capability to control the pH of the blood and the fluid in the inner ear, resulting in the signs and symptoms of renal tubular acidosis with deafness.
How do people inherit renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of renal tubular acidosis with deafness and may include treatment providers.
General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
You may find the following resources about renal tubular acidosis with deafness helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
What if I still have specific questions about renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding renal tubular acidosis with deafness?
acidity ; acidosis ; acids ; autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; cell ; dehydration ; distal ; failure to thrive ; gene ; glomerulus ; hypokalemia ; imaging ; inherited ; kidney ; kidney stones ; osteomalacia ; pH ; potassium ; prevalence ; protein ; recessive ; renal ; rickets ; sensorineural ; sensorineural hearing loss ; short stature ; stature ; vestibular aqueduct
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (10 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.