Mutations in the mineralocorticoid receptor gene cause autosomal dominant pseudohypoaldosteronism type I


Pseudohypoaldosteronism type I (PHA1) is characterized by neonatal renal salt wasting with dehydration, hypotension, hyperkalaemia and metabolic acidosis, despite elevated aldosterone levels. Two forms of PHA1 exist. An autosomal recessive form features severe disease with manifestations persisting into adulthood1. This form is caused by loss-of-function mutations in genes encoding subunits of the amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel (ENaC; refs 2,3 ). Autosomal dominant or sporadic PHA1 is a milder disease that remits with age. Among six dominant and seven sporadic PHA1 kindreds, we have found no ENaC gene mutations, implicating mutations in other genes. As ENaC activity in the kidney is regulated by the steroid hormone aldosterone acting through the mineralocorticoid receptor4, we have screened the mineralocorticoid receptor gene (MLR) for variants and have identified heterozygous mutations in one sporadic and four dominant kindreds. These include two frameshift mutations (one a de novo mutation), two premature termination codons and one splice donor mutation. These mutations segregate with PHA1 and are not found in unaffected subjects. These findings demonstrate that heterozygous MLR mutations cause PHA1, underscore the important role of mineralocorticoid receptor function in regulation of salt and blood pressure homeostasis in humans and motivate further study of this gene for a potential role in blood pressure variation.

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Figure 1: Mutations in MLR in PHA1 kindreds.

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We thank the families for their contribution to this project, H. Craig and F. Karet for helpful discussions and C. Nelson-Williams for DNA preparation and helpful discussions. Supported by an NIH specialized center of research in hypertension. R.P.L. is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Correspondence to Richard P. Lifton.

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