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Polycystic kidney disease: a 2011 update

Steinman, Theodore I.

Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: March 2012 - Volume 21 - Issue 2 - p 189–194
doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e32835011a7
CLINICAL NEPHROLOGY: Edited by Robert Bradley Denker

Purpose of review The review will examine clinically relevant advances in the area of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), mainly focusing on autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Discussion will focus on predicting the course of ADPKD, clinical trials and new research endeavors.

Recent findings During the past several years PKD research has been one of the most prolific areas in investigative nephrology. Research endeavors have focused on decreasing cyst proliferation and cyst fluid formation based on an understanding of the pathophysiology of these processes. If cysts can be prevented from growing, kidney function can be better preserved.

Summary Progression of this most common inherited kidney disorder can be altered by understanding that cysts are the disease in ADPKD. Assessing total kidney volume and noting its relationship to glomerular filtration rate is key in predicting the course of the disease and will aid in the evaluation of the new research initiatives that are designed to stop cyst proliferation and fluid secretion into the kidney cysts. The role of biomarkers is an advancement in predicting PKD progression and can potentially be used in evaluation of treatments for this disease. Complications of PKD alter the course and prognosis; hence management approaches will be addressed.

Department of Medicine and Renal Division, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham & Women's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Theodore I. Steinman, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Senior Physician, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital, 330 Brookline Ave. ST 220, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Tel: +1 617 667 5278; fax: +1 617 975 5595; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.