Polycystic Kidney Disease

Biology Research Project

Why I picked polycystic kidney disease.

I picked this disease because my cousins was diagnosed with it when we were younger. I would like to learn more about it and how people live with kidney problems and having cysts on their kidneys.

What is polycystic kidney disease?

Polycystic kidney disease is a disease where the kidney is covered in cysts. The cysts grow out of nephrons, the tiny filtering units inside the kidneys. The growth of the cysts, which can number in thousands, can cause the kidney to become enlarged. A cyst-filled kidney can weigh as much as 20 to 30 pounds. PKD can lead to kidney failure known as end-stage renal disease.


One symptom is a strong pain in the area around the kidneys that is caused by cysts infection, bleeding in to the cyst, kidney stones or stretching of the fibrous tissue around the kidney where the cyst grows. Another is a Urinary tract infection, this infection can spread from the urinary tract to the cyst. Keeping blood pressure under control can slow the effects of PKD. It can end in kidney failure known as end-stage renal disease.


PKD runs in the family, which means its a genetic defect, caused by abnormal genes. There are two types of polycystic kidney diseases, caused by different genetic flaws. One is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). This one is caused by spontaneous gene mutation. Only one parent has to have the disease to pass it to their children, symptoms usually show up later in life. The other type is autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). This type of PKD both parents have to have abnormal genes to pass off to their children, symptoms can show up shortly after birth.

How the disorder is inherited

The disease is inherited by the chromosome its located on. ADPKD is caused by the mutation of either PKD1 gene on chromosome 16 or PKD2 gene on chromosome 4. The gene responsible for ARPKD has been located on chromosome 6.

Treatments for PKD

Only in rare cases, when the cysts cause pain and pressure will doctors recommend surgery to remove the cysts. Some doctors recommend over the-counter-medications, when the pain is mild. Rarely the cysts cause severe pain or impact the ability to receive a kidney transplant, the doctors surgery to drain the cyst. Antibiotics can be used to treat a bladder or kidney infection. Bed rest may be recommended if there is blood in the urine, and drinking lots of fluids. Dialysis or a kidney transplant is what PKD usually leads to when the kidneys are unable to function.


Certain tests can detected the size and number of kidney cysts. An ultrasound is one way to find out if you have PKD or to keep up with the cysts and how big they are. A computerized tomography (CT) scan, x-rays of the body so the doctor can see cross sectional images of the kidneys. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to generate cross-sectional images of the kidneys.

Effects on population

PKD affects approximently 600,000 people world wide. ADPKD is the most common of the disease. Then there's ARPKD wich is not that common. It does not have to do with location, and it is not more common in a certain group of poeple.

What I learned about polycystic kidney disease.

I learned that one type of PKD is dominant and one type is recessive. People can get either one f the two types no matter how old they are. It effects more than just the kidneys. I also learned that it can lead to kidney failure and dialysis or a kidney transplant. I learned that this is no laughing matter because it is a serious disease.
Living with Polycystic Kidney Disease
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) - Dr. Ron Perrone