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Disease Profile

Blue diaper syndrome

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





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)

Hypercalcemia, familial, with nephrocalcinosis and indicanuria


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Kidney and Urinary Diseases; Metabolic disorders


Blue diaper syndrome is a rare metabolic disorder characterized by problems in the absorption of the aminoacid tryptophan and blue urine stains on diapers. Symptoms typically include digestive problems, fever, irritability, failure to thrive, and visual problems. The abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) may result in accumulation of calcium in the kidneys (nephrocalcinosis) leading to impaired kidney function and possible kidney failure.[1][2] The bluish urine-stained diapers occur when intestinal bacteria break down excessive amounts of tryptophan, a nutrient of the diet, leading to increase of indican and related compounds in the urine (indicanuria). Although the exact nature of the biochemical defect remains uncertain, it is believed to be related to a defect in the intestinal absorption and transport of tryptophan. The defect in tryptophan absorption may be associated with mutations in the LAT2 and TAT1 genes.[3] Inheritance is autosomal recessive or X-linked recessive. Children with blue diaper syndrome may be put on a diet that restricts their intake of calcium, protein, vitamin D, and tryptophan. Antibiotics may also be used to control intestinal infections.[1][2][3] 


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Abnormal abdomen morphology
Abnormality of abdomen structure
Abnormal circulating tryptophan concentration
Autosomal recessive inheritance
High blood calcium levels
Increased calcium in blood

[ more ]

Too much calcium deposited in kidneys
X-linked inheritance

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.

Where to Start

  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

In-Depth Information

  • 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.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • 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 Blue diaper syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


  1. Blue Diaper Syndrome. Orphanet. 2007; https://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=EN&Expert=94086.
  2. Blue Diaper Syndrome. NORD. 2008; https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/blue-diaper-syndrome/.
  3. Park SY & cols. Reabsorption of neutral amino acids mediated by amino acid transporter LAT2 and TAT1 in the basolateral membrane of proximal tubule. Arch Pharm Res. April, 2005; 28 (4):421-32.