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Disease Profile

Oligomeganephronic renal hypoplasia

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset

All ages





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)



Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Kidney and Urinary Diseases


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 2260

Oligomeganephronia is a developmental anomaly of the kidneys, and the most severe form of renal hypoplasia (see this term), characterized by a reduction of 80% in nephron number and a marked hypertrophy of the glomeruli and tubules.

Prevalence is unknown. The male to female ratio is of 3:1.

Clinical description
Oligomeganephronia is usually detected on routine ultrasound screening with small but normal shaped kidneys. Birth weight is often below the average value. Patients may present at birth with polyuria/polydipsia or signs of renal dysfunction such as anemia. During the first year of life, the usual symptom is persistent anorexia with vomiting, fever, and height-weight growth delay. Renal failure typically occurs during childhood or adolescence. Adult-onset oligomeganephronia has been reported in some rare cases.

The etiology of oligomeganephronia is not fully understood, but is hypothesized to be caused by premature termination of nephrogenesis. This may be linked to the same factors as renal hypoplasia, but with a more severe reduction in nephron numbers. Such factors include intrauterine growth restriction, maternal diseases (diabetes, hypertension), maternal drug intake (inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)) or intoxication (smoking and alcohol). Premature birth (before the 36th week) is also a risk factor due to incomplete nephrogenesis. Oligomeganephronia can occur as part of a multiorgan syndrome such as renal coloboma syndrome (see this term), which is caused by mutations in the PAX2 gene (10q24.31), or can be caused by chromosomal disorders including 22q11 deletion syndrome or Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (see this term).

Diagnostic methods
Diagnosis can be suspected by bilateral small and echogenic kidneys on ultrasound. CT-scan may, in addition to small normal-shaped kidneys, show a thickened cortex and medulla with striated nephrograms. The diagnosis is confirmed histologically by a reduced number of nephrons, hypertrophic glomeruli with diameters being two to three times the normal size, hypertrophic tubules and thickening of Bowman's capsule. Both kidneys are symmetrically affected.

Differential diagnosis
Differential diagnosis includes renal dysplasia, nephronophthisis, (see these terms), medullary cystic kidney disease, renal infarction or ischemic renal disease, and diffuse renal parenchymal disease.

Antenatal diagnosis
Antenatal ultrasonographic screening is becoming routine and allows detection of oligomeganephronia from midway through gestation.

Genetic counseling
Most cases are sporadic, but familial occurrence has been described.

Management and treatment
Angiotensin-convertingenzyme inhibitors may slow the progression of the disease. Once having reached the stage of terminal renal failure, management includes a dialysis-transplantation program.

With the increasing metabolic demands on the kidney during growth, a decline in renal function is seen resulting in chronic renal failure at a mean age of 10 years (range 6 months to 20 years).

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Oligomeganephronic renal hypoplasia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.