Lowe syndrome (the oculocerebrorenal syndrome of Lowe, OCRL) is a multisystem disorder characterised by anomalies affecting the eye, the nervous system and the kidney. It is a uncommon, panethnic, X-linked disease, with estimated prevalence in the general population of approximately 1 in 500,000. Bilateral cataract and severe hypotonia are present at birth. In the subsequent weeks or months, a proximal renal tubulopathy (Fanconi-type) becomes evident and the ocular picture may be complicated by glaucoma and cheloids. Psychomotor retardation is evident in childhood, while behavioural problems prevail and renal complications arise in adolescence. The disease is caused by a mutation in the OCRL1 gene, localized at Xq26.1 and coding for the trans-Golgi network enzyme phosphatidylinositol (4,5) bisphosphate 5 phosphatase (PtdIns (4,5)P2). Both enzymatic and molecular testing are available for confirmation of the diagnosis and for prenatal detection of the disease. The treatment includes: cataract extraction, glaucoma control, physical and speech therapy, use of drugs to address behavioural problems, and correction of the tubular acidosis and the bone disease with the use of bicarbonate, phosphate, potassium and water. Life span rarely exceeds 40 years.
Last update: May 2006