To ascertain the clinical scenarios in which genetic testing for congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) by direct detection of mutations might prove valuable, and to assess the use of automated sequencing for testing.
We reviewed NDI cases referred to our research laboratory for enrollment in our study of mutations in the AVPR2 gene that is disrupted in the X-linked form of the disease. We selected 5 cases that illustrate the value of genetic testing in different clinical situations. Clinical information was obtained from the patient's personal physicians and the patients' families. Direct automated fluorescent DNA sequencing of AVPR2 gene amplification product was used to identify disease-associated mutations in patients. The presence or absence of mutations in family members was then established by using automated sequencing, restriction enzyme analysis, or both.
In 2 of the 5 selected cases, the diagnosis of a genetic form of NDI was confirmed by mutation analysis in a sporadic case of an affected boy. In 2 cases, a suspected diagnosis of X-linked NDI was confirmed in an affected girl. In 4 of the cases, 1 or more unaffected female relatives were determined to carry or not to carry the disease-associated gene. In 2 cases, testing of the newborn child of a known or suspected carrier confirmed the clinical suspicion of affected status and justified proactive therapy. In 4 of the 5 cases, the mode of inheritance was not clear from the family history and was established as X-linked by the testing. Assay for restriction sites changed by disease-associated mutations agreed with the automated sequencing results.
We conclude that direct mutation analysis in patients suspected of NDI and in selected family members is indicated. The results of testing can confirm a clinical diagnosis of disease, which may otherwise be difficult to make in girls. It can further establish the mode of inheritance, unambiguously distinguish carriers from noncarriers, and justify special observation or treatment of newborns at risk, thereby averting dehydration and the attendant complications. We also conclude that, with proper controls, automated sequencing is the preferred method of testing, because it is sufficiently robust, sensitive, and adaptable for this short gene with a large variety of causative mutations.