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1.  Polymorphisms in MYH9 are associated with diabetic nephropathy in European Americans 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2011;27(4):1505-1511.
Polymorphisms in the non-muscle myosin IIA gene (MYH9) are associated with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and non-diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans and FSGS in European Americans. We tested for association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MYH9 with T2DM–ESRD in European Americans; additionally, three APOL1 gene variants were evaluated.
Fifteen MYH9 SNPs and two APOL1 SNPs plus a 6-bp deletion were genotyped in 1963 European Americans, 536 cases with T2DM–ESRD and 1427 non-nephropathy controls (467 with T2DM and 960 without diabetes).
Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases with the 467 T2DM non-nephropathy controls, single variant associations trending toward significance were detected with SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487 and rs4281481 comprising part of the major MYH9 E1 risk haplotype [P-values 0.053–0.055 recessive, odds ratio (OR) 6.08–6.14]. Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases to all 1427 non-nephropathy controls, we confirmed evidence of association in these three SNPs as well as in the fourth E1 SNP (rs3752462) (P-values 0.017–0.035, OR 1.41–3.72). APOL1 G1/G2 nephropathy risk variants were rare in individuals of European American heritage, present in 0.28% of chromosomes in T2DM–ESRD cases and 0.32% of controls.
MYH9 SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487, rs4281481 and rs3752462 are associated with T2DM–ESRD susceptibility in European Americans. The APOL1 risk variants are not present at appreciable frequency in this cohort with T2DM–ESRD. Therefore, polymorphisms in MYH9 appear to influence nephropathy risk in this sample.
PMCID: PMC3315672  PMID: 21968013
APOL1; diabetic nephropathy; end-stage renal disease; MYH9; type 2 diabetes mellitus
2.  Differential Effects of MYH9 and APOL1 Risk Variants on FRMD3 Association with Diabetic ESRD in African Americans 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(6):e1002150.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MYH9 and APOL1 on chromosome 22 (c22) are powerfully associated with non-diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans (AAs). Many AAs diagnosed with type 2 diabetic nephropathy (T2DN) have non-diabetic kidney disease, potentially masking detection of DN genes. Therefore, genome-wide association analyses were performed using the Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0 in 966 AA with T2DN and 1,032 non-diabetic, non-nephropathy (NDNN) controls, with and without adjustment for c22 nephropathy risk variants. No associations were seen between FRMD3 SNPs and T2DN before adjusting for c22 variants. However, logistic regression analysis revealed seven FRMD3 SNPs significantly interacting with MYH9—a finding replicated in 640 additional AA T2DN cases and 683 NDNN controls. Contrasting all 1,592 T2DN cases with all 1,671 NDNN controls, FRMD3 SNPs appeared to interact with the MYH9 E1 haplotype (e.g., rs942280 interaction p-value = 9.3E−7 additive; odds ratio [OR] 0.67). FRMD3 alleles were associated with increased risk of T2DN only in subjects lacking two MYH9 E1 risk haplotypes (rs942280 OR = 1.28), not in MYH9 E1 risk allele homozygotes (rs942280 OR = 0.80; homogeneity p-value = 4.3E−4). Effects were weaker stratifying on APOL1. FRMD3 SNPS were associated with T2DN, not type 2 diabetes per se, comparing AAs with T2DN to those with diabetes lacking nephropathy. T2DN-associated FRMD3 SNPs were detectable in AAs only after accounting for MYH9, with differential effects for APOL1. These analyses reveal a role for FRMD3 in AA T2DN susceptibility and accounting for c22 nephropathy risk variants can assist in detecting DN susceptibility genes.
Author Summary
African Americans have high rates of kidney disease attributed to type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, approximately 25% of patients are misclassified and have non-diabetic kidney disease on renal biopsy. The APOL1-MYH9 gene region on chromosome 22 is powerfully associated with non-diabetic kidney diseases in African Americans. Therefore, we tested for interactions between single nucleotide polymorphisms across the genome with APOL1 and MYH9 non-diabetic nephropathy risk variants in African Americans with presumed diabetic nephropathy. Markers in FRMD3, a gene associated with type 1 diabetic nephropathy in Caucasians, appeared to interact with MYH9; however, increased nephropathy risk was seen in diabetic cases lacking two MYH9 risk haplotypes, and protective effects were seen in those with two MYH9 risk haplotypes. Stratified analyses based on the chromosome 22 nephropathy risk haplotypes demonstrated that FRMD3 variants were associated with diabetic nephropathy risk in cases without two MYH9 (or APOL1) risk haplotypes. It appears that African Americans with diabetes and kidney disease who are not chromosome 22 nephropathy risk variant homozygotes are enriched for the presence of diabetic nephropathy and FRMD3 risk alleles. This genetic dissection ultimately allowed for detection of the FRMD3 diabetic nephropathy gene association in a subset of cases enriched for this disorder.
PMCID: PMC3116917  PMID: 21698141
3.  Time to Renal Disease and End-Stage Renal Disease in PROFILE: A Multiethnic Lupus Cohort 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e396.
Renal involvement is a serious manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); it may portend a poor prognosis as it may lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The purpose of this study was to determine the factors predicting the development of renal involvement and its progression to ESRD in a multi-ethnic SLE cohort (PROFILE).
Methods and Findings
PROFILE includes SLE patients from five different United States institutions. We examined at baseline the socioeconomic–demographic, clinical, and genetic variables associated with the development of renal involvement and its progression to ESRD by univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses. Analyses of onset of renal involvement included only patients with renal involvement after SLE diagnosis (n = 229). Analyses of ESRD included all patients, regardless of whether renal involvement occurred before, at, or after SLE diagnosis (34 of 438 patients). In addition, we performed a multivariable logistic regression analysis of the variables associated with the development of renal involvement at any time during the course of SLE.
In the time-dependent multivariable analysis, patients developing renal involvement were more likely to have more American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE, and to be younger, hypertensive, and of African-American or Hispanic (from Texas) ethnicity. Alternative regression models were consistent with these results. In addition to greater accrued disease damage (renal damage excluded), younger age, and Hispanic ethnicity (from Texas), homozygosity for the valine allele of FcγRIIIa (FCGR3A*GG) was a significant predictor of ESRD. Results from the multivariable logistic regression model that included all cases of renal involvement were consistent with those from the Cox model.
Fcγ receptor genotype is a risk factor for progression of renal disease to ESRD. Since the frequency distribution of FCGR3A alleles does not vary significantly among the ethnic groups studied, the additional factors underlying the ethnic disparities in renal disease progression remain to be elucidated.
Fcγ receptor genotype is a risk factor for progression of renal disease to ESRD but does not explain the ethnic disparities in renal disease progression.
Editors' Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE, commonly known as “lupus”) is an illness of many manifestations that appear to result from the immune system attacking components of the body's own cells. One of the unfortunate effects of SLE is kidney damage, which can, in a minority of patients, progress to kidney failure (formally called “end-stage renal disease,” or ESRD). Compared to White Americans, other ethnic groups tend to develop renal complications of lupus more often and with worse outcomes.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is unclear why some people with lupus develop kidney problems. The purpose of this US-based study was to confirm the factors that increase the risk of kidney damage and kidney failure, particularly in racial and ethnic minority patients, and to determine which of these factors accelerate the pace of kidney disease. Knowing these risk factors could allow the development and targeting of interventions, such as screening tests and preventive treatments, to prevent long-term loss of kidney function in patients with lupus.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured a number of factors in a multi-ethnic group of 1,008 patients with lupus, almost half of whom had some degree of kidney involvement. They found that those who developed kidney damage after being diagnosed with lupus tended to be younger, to have had lupus for a longer time, and to have experienced more effects of lupus in general than those who did not have kidney involvement. Those who developed kidney problems were also more likely to have been unemployed, to have had fewer years of formal education, and to have had high blood pressure before developing kidney involvement. African-American and Texan Hispanic individuals with lupus were more likely to develop kidney involvement, and tended to develop it more rapidly, than White Americans or Puerto Rican Hispanic ethnicity. Actual kidney failure (ESRD requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation) was more likely to occur among Texan Hispanics with kidney involvement than in the other ethnic groups. Diabetes and high blood pressure were not found to predict ESRD, but people with a particular variant of a protein that helps antibodies bind to cells (know as Fc-gamma receptor IIIa, or FcγRIIIa) were found to be more likely to develop ESRD, and to develop it more quickly.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that the emergence and progression of kidney disease in patients with lupus depends on medical, genetic, and socioeconomic factors. Because no single test or intervention can be expected to address all of these factors, those treating patients with lupus must remain aware of the complexity of their patients lives at a variety of levels. In particular, ethnic disparities in the risk of serious kidney disease remain to be addressed.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus page on lupus
Lupus Foundation of America
American College of Rheumatology pages on lupus
Wikipedia entry on lupus (note: Wikipedia is a free Internet encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
PMCID: PMC1626549  PMID: 17076550
4.  Non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene MYH9 associations in African Americans with clinically diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus-associated ESRD 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2009;24(11):3366-3371.
Background. Although MYH9 is strongly associated with biopsy-proven idiopathic and HIV-associated focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and clinically diagnosed ‘hypertension-associated’ end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans, its role in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)-associated ESRD is unclear.
Methods. To assess whether MYH9 was associated with T2DM-ESRD, 751 African Americans with T2DM-ESRD, 227 with T2DM lacking nephropathy and 925 non-diabetic non-nephropathy controls were genotyped for 14 MYH9 SNPs. Association analyses used SNPGWA and Dandelion.
Results. Comparing T2DM-ESRD cases with non-diabetic controls, single SNP associations were detected with 8 of 14 SNPs, gender- and admixture-adjusted P-values 0.047–0.005 [recessive model, odds ratio (OR) range 1.30–1.55]. The previously associated MYH9 E1 and L1 haplotypes were associated with T2DM-ESRD (E1: OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.04–1.56, P = 0.021 recessive and L1: OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.09–1.87, P = 0.009 dominant). Contrasting the 751 T2DM-ESRD cases with 227 T2DM non-nephropathy controls revealed that E1 haplotype SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487 and rs4821481 were associated with kidney failure (OR 1.38–1.40 recessive, all P < 0.048). Among E1 and L1 risk homozygotes, respectively, mean (SD) diabetes duration prior to renal replacement therapy was 16.6 (9.7) and 16.4 (10.0) years, and 65% had diabetic retinopathy.
Conclusions. Genetic dissection of T2DM-associated ESRD reveals that MYH9 underlies a portion of this clinically diagnosed disorder in African Americans. It is likely that a subset of African Americans with T2DM and coincident nephropathy have primary MYH9-related kidney disease (e.g. FSGS or global glomerulosclerosis), although renal biopsy studies need to be performed.
PMCID: PMC2910323  PMID: 19567477
African American; diabetic nephropathy; kidney; MYH9; type 2 diabetes mellitus
5.  End-Stage Renal Disease in African Americans With Lupus Nephritis Is Associated With APOL1 
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that exhibits familial aggregation and may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). LN is more prevalent among African Americans than among European Americans. This study was undertaken to investigate the hypothesis that the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) nephropathy risk alleles G1/G2, common in African Americans and rare in European Americans, contribute to the ethnic disparity in risk.
APOL1 G1 and G2 nephropathy alleles were genotyped in 855 African American SLE patients with LN-ESRD (cases) and 534 African American SLE patients without nephropathy (controls) and tested for association under a recessive genetic model, by logistic regression.
Ninety percent of the SLE patients were female. The mean ± SD age at SLE diagnosis was significantly lower in LN-ESRD cases than in SLE non-nephropathy controls (27.3 ± 10.9 years versus 39.5 ± 12.2 years). The mean ± SD time from SLE diagnosis to development of LN-ESRD in cases was 7.3 ± 7.2 years. The G1/G2 risk alleles were strongly associated with SLE-ESRD, with 25% of cases and 12% of controls having 2 nephropathy alleles (odds ratio [OR] 2.57, recessive model P = 1.49 × 10−9), and after adjustment for age, sex, and ancestry admixture (OR 2.72, P = 6.23 × 10−6). The age-, sex-, and admixture-adjusted population attributable risk for ESRD among patients with G1/G2 polymorphisms was 0.26, compared to 0.003 among European American patients. The mean time from SLE diagnosis to ESRD development was ~2 years earlier among individuals with APOL1 risk genotypes (P = 0.01).
APOL1 G1/G2 alleles strongly impact the risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans, as well as the time to progression to ESRD. The high frequency of these alleles in African Americans with near absence in European Americans explains an important proportion of the increased risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4002759  PMID: 24504811
6.  Polymorphisms in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene (MYH9) are strongly associated with end-stage renal disease historically attributed to hypertension in African Americans 
Kidney international  2009;75(7):736-745.
African Americans have high incidence rates of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) labeled as due to hypertension. As recent studies showed strong association with idiopathic and HIV-related focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) gene polymorphisms in this ethnic group, we tested for MYH9 associations in a variety of kidney diseases. Fifteen MYH9 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were evaluated in 175 African Americans with chronic glomerulonephritis-associated ESRD, 696 African Americans reportedly with hypertension-associated ESRD, and 948 control subjects without kidney disease. Significant associations were detected with 14 of the 15 polymorphisms in all 871 non-diabetic patients with ESRD. In hypertension-associated ESRD cases alone, significant associations were found with 13 MYH9 polymorphisms and the previously reported E1 haplotype. Thus, hypertension-associated ESRD in African Americans is substantially related to MYH9 gene polymorphisms and this may explain the poor response to blood pressure control in those diagnosed with hypertensive nephrosclerosis. It is possible that many African Americans classified as having hypertension-associated ESRD have occult MYH9-associated segmental or global glomerulosclerosis. Our study shows that gene-environment and/or gene–gene interactions may initiate kidney disease in genetically susceptible individuals, because African Americans homozygous for MYH9 risk alleles do not universally develop kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC2698223  PMID: 19177153
African American; end-stage renal disease; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; hypertension; hypertensive nephrosclerosis; MYH9
7.  MYH9 and APOL1 Gene Polymorphisms and the Risk of CKD in Patients with Lupus Nephritis from an Admixture Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e87716.
MYH9 polymorphisms have been described to be associated with the risk of CKD in non-diabetic nephropathy, HIV nephropathy and FSGS. Predominating in black descendants, MHY9 genetic variants could partially explain the excess risk of CKD associated with African ancestry. However, recent data suggests that APOL1 gene co-segregate with MYH9, and could be the gene truly associated with CKD risk. In this study, we evaluated the role of MYH9 and APOL1 gene polymorphisms in the risk of CKD in Brazilian patients with lupus nephritis (LN). A retrospective analysis of 196 LN patients was done. MYH9 rs4821480, rs2032487, rs4821481 and rs3752462, APOL 1rs73885319, rs16996616, rs60910145, rs71785313, and APOL3 rs11089781 gene polymorphisms were determined. Genetic ancestry was ascertained both by autossomal ancestry and mitochondrial haplogroup. Primary outcome was defined as doubling of serum creatinine (DC) or end stage renal disease (ESRD). Sixty-two patients presented the PO. In our population, MYH9 and APOL1 were not in LD. None APOL polymorphism was associated with the PO, whereas rs3752462 MYH9 polymorphism showed a positive association (HR3.72, 95%CI 1.47–9.38, p = 0.005). When we analyzed the MYH9 E1 haplotype, the GCCT carriers (1 or 2 alelles present in 29.7% in the PO group vs. 18.5% in controls) showed a significant association to the risk of PO, even after adjustments for baseline estimated creatinine clearance and autossomal ancestry (HR 2.0, 95%CI 1.2–3.4, p = 0.01). Our results show that in our population MYH9, but not APOL1, gene polymorphisms confer an increased risk of CKD in LN patients, independently of race.
PMCID: PMC3962338  PMID: 24658608
8.  Coincident idiopathic FSGS collapsing variant and diabetic nephropathy in an African American homozygous for MYH9 risk variants 
Human pathology  2010;42(2):291-294.
Familial clustering of disparate kidney diseases including clinically diagnosed hypertensive and diabetic nephropathy, idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus-associated nephropathy are often observed in African Americans. Admixture mapping recently identified the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene (MYH9) as a susceptibility factor strongly associated with several non-diabetic etiologies of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans, less strongly with diabetes-associated ESRD. MYH9-associated nephropathies reside in the spectrum of FSGS/focal global glomerulosclerosis. The renal histology in proteinuric African Americans homozygous for MYH9 risk variants with longstanding type 2 diabetes mellitus is unknown. We report a case of coincident idiopathic FSGS, collapsing variant; and diabetic nephropathy in an African American homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype. This case demonstrates that diabetic African Americans with overt proteinuria can have mixed renal lesions, including those in the spectrum of MYH9-associated nephropathy. Careful interpretation of kidney biopsies in proteinuric African Americans with diabetes is necessary to exclude coincident non-diabetic forms of nephropathy, precisely define etiologies of kidney disease, and determine the natural history and treatment response in mixed lesions of diabetes-associated and MYH9-associated kidney disease.
We report a case of coincident idiopathic FSGS, collapsing variant; and diabetic nephropathy in an African American homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype.
PMCID: PMC3022108  PMID: 21074826
African American; collapsing variant focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; diabetes; diabetic nephropathy; MYH9
9.  Missense mutations in the APOL1 gene are highly associated with end stage kidney disease risk previously attributed to the MYH9 gene 
Human Genetics  2010;128(3):345-350.
MYH9 has been proposed as a major genetic risk locus for a spectrum of nondiabetic end stage kidney disease (ESKD). We use recently released sequences from the 1000 Genomes Project to identify two western African-specific missense mutations (S342G and I384M) in the neighboring APOL1 gene, and demonstrate that these are more strongly associated with ESKD than previously reported MYH9 variants. The APOL1 gene product, apolipoprotein L-1, has been studied for its roles in trypanosomal lysis, autophagic cell death, lipid metabolism, as well as vascular and other biological activities. We also show that the distribution of these newly identified APOL1 risk variants in African populations is consistent with the pattern of African ancestry ESKD risk previously attributed to MYH9.
Mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium (MALD) localized an interval on chromosome 22, in a region that includes the MYH9 gene, which was shown to contain African ancestry risk variants associated with certain forms of ESKD (Kao et al. 2008; Kopp et al. 2008). MYH9 encodes nonmuscle myosin heavy chain IIa, a major cytoskeletal nanomotor protein expressed in many cell types, including podocyte cells of the renal glomerulus. Moreover, 39 different coding region mutations in MYH9 have been identified in patients with a group of rare syndromes, collectively termed the Giant Platelet Syndromes, with clear autosomal dominant inheritance, and various clinical manifestations, sometimes also including glomerular pathology and chronic kidney disease (Kopp 2010; Sekine et al. 2010). Accordingly, MYH9 was further explored in these studies as the leading candidate gene responsible for the MALD signal. Dense mapping of MYH9 identified individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and sets of such SNPs grouped as haplotypes that were found to be highly associated with a large and important group of ESKD risk phenotypes, which as a consequence were designated as MYH9-associated nephropathies (Bostrom and Freedman 2010). These included HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), primary nonmonogenic forms of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and hypertension affiliated chronic kidney disease not attributed to other etiologies (Bostrom and Freedman 2010). The MYH9 SNP and haplotype associations observed with these forms of ESKD yielded the largest odds ratios (OR) reported to date for the association of common variants with common disease risk (Winkler et al. 2010). Two specific MYH9 variants (rs5750250 of S-haplotype and rs11912763 of F-haplotype) were designated as most strongly predictive on the basis of Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis (Nelson et al. 2010). These MYH9 association studies were then also extended to earlier stage and related kidney disease phenotypes and to population groups with varying degrees of recent African ancestry admixture (Behar et al. 2010; Freedman et al. 2009a, b; Nelson et al. 2010), and led to the expectation of finding a functional African ancestry causative variant within MYH9. However, despite intensive efforts including re-sequencing of the MYH9 gene no suggested functional mutation has been identified (Nelson et al. 2010; Winkler et al. 2010). This led us to re-examine the interval surrounding MYH9 and to the detection of novel missense mutations with predicted functional effects in the neighboring APOL1 gene, which are significantly more associated with ESKD than all previously reported SNPs in MYH9.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0861-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2921485  PMID: 20635188
10.  Candidate genes for non-diabetic ESRD in African Americans: a genome-wide association study using pooled DNA 
Human genetics  2010;128(2):195-204.
African Americans have increased susceptibility to non-diabetic (non-DM) forms of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and extensive evidence supports a genetic contribution. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) using pooled DNA was performed in 1,000 African Americans to detect associated genes. DNA from 500 non-DM ESRD cases and 500 non-nephropathy controls was quantified using gel electrophoresis and spectrophotometric analysis and pools of 50 case and 50 control DNA samples were created. DNA pools were genotyped in duplicate on the Illumina HumanHap550-Duo BeadChip. Normalization methods were developed and applied to array intensity values to reduce inter-array variance. Allele frequencies were calculated from normalized channel intensities and compared between case and control pools. Three SNPs had p values of <1.0E–6: rs4462445 (ch 13), rs4821469 (ch 22) and rs8077346 (ch 17). After normalization, top scoring SNPs (n = 65) were genotyped individually in 464 of the original cases and 478 of the controls, with replication in 336 non-DM ESRD cases and 363 non-nephropathy controls. Sixteen SNPs were associated with non-DM ESRD (p < 7.7E–4, Bonferroni corrected). Twelve of these SNPs are in or near the MYH9 gene. The four non-MYH9 SNPs that were associated with non-DM ESRD in the pooled samples were not associated in the replication set. Five SNPs that were modestly associated in the pooled samples were more strongly associated in the replication and/or combined samples. This is the first GWAS for non-DM ESRD in African Americans using pooled DNA. We demonstrate strong association between non-DM ESRD in African Americans with MYH9, and have identified additional candidate loci.
PMCID: PMC3144421  PMID: 20532800
11.  Role of MYH9 and APOL1 in African and non-African populations with Lupus Nephritis 
Genes and Immunity  2011;13(3):232-238.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and organ damage. Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE. Multiple studies reported associations between renal diseases and variants in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) and the neighboring apolipoprotein L 1 (APOL1) genes. We evaluated 167 variants spanning MYH9 for association with LN in a multiethnic sample. The two previously identified risk variants in APOL1 were also tested for association with LN in European-Americans (EAs) (N = 579) and African-Americans (AAs) (N = 407). Multiple peaks of association exceeding a Bonferroni corrected p-value of p < 2.03 × 10−3 were observed between LN and MYH9 in EAs (N=4620), with the most pronounced association at rs2157257 (p = 4.7 × 10−4; odds ratio [OR]=1.205). A modest effect with MYH9 was also detected in Gullah (rs8136069, p = 0.0019, OR = 2.304). No association between LN and MYH9 was found in AAs, Asians, Amerindians or Hispanics. This study provides the first investigation of MYH9 in LN in non-Africans and of APOL1 in LN in any population and presents novel insight into the potential role of MYH9 in LN in EAs.
PMCID: PMC3330160  PMID: 22189356
MYH9; APOL1; lupus nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; multiethnic association study
12.  Genetic Risk Factors in Lupus Nephritis and IgA Nephropathy – No Support of an Overlap 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10559.
IgA nephropathy (IgAN) and nephritis in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) are two common forms of glomerulonephritis in which genetic findings are of importance for disease development. We have recently reported an association of IgAN with variants of TGFB1. In several autoimmune diseases, particularly in SLE, IRF5, STAT4 genes and TRAF1-C5 locus have been shown to be important candidate genes. The aim of this study was to compare genetic variants from the TGFB1, IRF5, STAT4 genes and TRAF1-C5 locus with susceptibility to IgAN and lupus nephritis in two Swedish cohorts.
Patients and Methods
We genotyped 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four genetic loci in 1252 DNA samples from patients with biopsy proven IgAN or with SLE (with and without nephritis) and healthy age- and sex-matched controls from the same population in Sweden.
Genotype and allelic frequencies for SNPs from selected genes did not differ significantly between lupus nephritis patients and SLE patients without nephritis. In addition, haplotype analysis for seven selected SNPs did not reveal a difference for the SLE patient groups with and without nephritis. Moreover, none of these SPNs showed a significant difference between IgAN patients and healthy controls. IRF5 and STAT4 variants remained significantly different between SLE cases and healthy controls. In addition, the data did not show an association of TRAF1-C5 polymorphism with susceptibility to SLE in this Swedish population.
Our data do not support an overlap in genetic susceptibility between patients with IgAN or SLE and reveal no specific importance of SLE associated SNPs for the presence of lupus nephritis.
PMCID: PMC2866667  PMID: 20479942
13.  Selective Involvement of the Amygdala in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e499.
Antibodies specifically affect the amygdala in a mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of our study was to investigate whether there is also specific involvement of the amygdala in human SLE.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed a group of 37 patients with neuropsychiatric SLE (NP-SLE), 21 patients with SLE, and a group of 12 healthy control participants with diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). In addition, in a subset of eight patients, plasma was available to determine their anti-NMDAR antibody status. From the structural magnetic resonance imaging data, the amygdala and the hippocampus were segmented, as well as the white and gray matter, and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was retrieved. ADC values between controls, patients with SLE, and patients with NP-SLE were tested using analysis of variance with post-hoc Bonferroni correction. No differences were found in the gray or white matter segments. The average ADC in the amygdala of patients with NP-SLE and SLE (940 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.006 and 949 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.019, respectively) was lower than in healthy control participants (1152 × 10−6 mm2/s). Mann-Whitney analysis revealed that the average ADC in the amygdala of patients with anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 802 × 10−6 mm2/s) was lower (p = 0.029) than the average ADC of patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 979 × 10−6 mm2/s) and also lower (p = 0.001) than in healthy control participants.
This is the first study to our knowledge to observe damage in the amygdala in patients with SLE. Patients with SLE with anti-NMDAR antibodies had more severe damage in the amygdala compared to SLE patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies.
Patients with SLE who also had antibodies against the NMDA receptor had more severe damage in the amygdala as compared with patients with SLE without these antibodies.
Editors' Summary
The human body is continually attacked by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, but the immune system usually prevents these pathogens from causing disease. To be effective, the immune system has to respond rapidly to foreign antigens (bits of proteins that are unique to the pathogen) but ignore self-antigens. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and nonself fails for unknown reasons, and the immune system begins to destroy human tissues. In the chronic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), the immune system attacks the skin, joints, nervous system, and many other organs. Patients with SLE make numerous “autoantibodies” (antibodies are molecules made by the immune system that recognize and attack antigens; autoantibodies attack self-antigens). These autoantibodies start the attack on the body; then other parts of the immune system join in, causing inflammation and forming deposits of immune cells, both of which damage tissues. Common symptoms of SLE include skin rashes and arthritis, but some patients develop NP-SLE, a form of SLE that includes neuropsychiatric symptoms such as amnesia, dementia, mood disorders, strokes, and seizures. There is no cure for SLE, but mild cases are controlled with ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; severe cases are kept in check with corticosteroids and other powerful immunosuppressants.
Why Was This Study Done?
In most of the tissues affected by SLE, the damage done by autoantibodies and immune cells can be seen when the tissues are examined with a microscope. But there is little microscopic damage visible in the brains of patients with NP-SLE. More generally, it is unclear how or even whether the immune system affects mental functions and emotion. In this study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate whether there are any structural changes in the brains of patients with NP-SLE that could explain their neuropsychiatric symptoms. They have also examined whether any changes in the brain can be linked to the presence of autoantibodies that recognize a protein called the NMDA receptor (anti-NMDAR antibodies) that is present on brain cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion weighted imaging to examine the brains of several patients with NP-SLE or SLE and the brains of several healthy individuals. Using this technique, it is possible to quantify the amount of structural damage in different regions of the brain. The researchers found no differences in most areas of the brain between the two groups of patients and the healthy controls. However, there were clear signs of damage in the amygdala (the part of the brain that regulates emotions and triggers responses to danger) in the patients with SLE or NP-SLE when compared to the control individuals. The researchers also found that the damage was more severe in the patients who had anti-NMDAR autoantibodies than in those that did not have these autoantibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that autoantibodies produced by patients with SLE specifically damage the amygdala, a discovery that helps to explain some of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of this condition. Previous work has shown that the treatment of mice with anti-NMDAR antibodies and epinephrine, a stress hormone that causes leaks in the blood-brain barrier (antibodies can't usually get into the brain because of this barrier), results in damage to the amygdala and a deficient response to dangerous stimuli. The researchers suggest that a similar series of events might happen in SLE—patients often mention that a period of major stress precedes the development of symptoms. To provide stronger evidence for such a scenario, a detailed study of how stress relates to neuropsychiatric symptoms is needed. The damage to the amygdala (and the lack of damage elsewhere in the brain) and the possible association between brain damage and anti-NMDAR antibodies seen in this small study also need to be confirmed in more patients. Nevertheless, these findings provide an intriguing glimpse into the interplay between the immune system and the brain and into how stress might lead to physical damage in the brain.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on autoimmunity and on systemic lupus erythematosus
US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases booklet for patients with SLE
American College of Rheumatology information for patients on SLE
NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopedia pages on SLE
The Lupus Foundation of America information and support for patients with SLE
PMCID: PMC1702559  PMID: 17177602
14.  Association of Discoid Lupus with other Clinical Manifestations among Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Cutaneous discoid lupus (DLE) among SLE patients may be associated with less severe disease, with low frequency of nephritis and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
To investigate associations between confirmed DLE and other SLE manifestations, adjusting for confounders.
We identified patients with rheumatologist confirmation, according to ACR SLE classification criteria 1997, >2 visits, >3 months of follow-up, and documented year of SLE diagnosis. DLE was confirmed by dermatologist, supported by histopathology and images. SLE manifestations, medications and serologies were collected. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analyses tested for associations between DLE and each of the ACR SLE criteria, and ESRD.
A total of 1,043 SLE patients, (117 with DLE and 926 without DLE), were included in the study. After multivariable adjustment, DLE in SLE was significantly associated with photosensitivity (OR 1.63), leukopenia (OR 1.55) and anti-Smith antibodies (OR 2.41). DLE was significantly associated with reduced risks of arthritis (OR 0.49) and pleuritis (OR 0.56). We found no significant associations between DLE and nephritis or ESRD.
Cross-sectional data collection with risk of data not captured from visits outside system.
In our SLE cohort, DLE was confirmed by a dermatologist and we adjusted for possible confounding by medication use, in particular hydroxychloroquine. We found increased risks of photosensitivity, leukopenia and anti-Smith antibodies and decreased risks of pleuritis and arthritis in SLE patients with DLE. DLE was not related to anti-dsDNA antibodies, lupus nephritis, or ESRD. These findings have implications for prognosis among SLE patients.
PMCID: PMC3686921  PMID: 23541758
Systemic lupus erythematosus; discoid lupus erythematosus; cutaneous lupus erythematosus; prognosis; epidemiology
15.  Is Collapsing C1q Nephropathy Another MYH9-Associated Kidney Disease? A Case Report 
C1q nephropathy is a rare kidney disease that can present with nephrotic syndrome and typically has the histological phenotype of either minimal change disease (MCD) or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Disagreement exists as to whether it is a distinct immune complex-mediated glomerulopathy or whether it resides in the spectrum of FSGS-MCD. Two African American patients with C1q nephropathy histologically presenting as the collapsing variant of FSGS (collapsing C1q nephropathy) and rapid loss of kidney function were genotyped for polymorphisms in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene (MYH9). Both cases were homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype; the variant strongly associated with idiopathic FSGS, collapsing FSGS in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-associated nephropathy and focal global glomerulosclerosis (historically attributed to hypertensive nephrosclerosis). Collapsing C1q nephropathy with rapid progression to ESRD appears to reside in the MYH9-associated disease spectrum.
PMCID: PMC2864358  PMID: 20116156
African American; C1q nephropathy; collapsing variant; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; HIVAN; MYH9
16.  Podocyte-Specific Deletion of Myh9 Encoding Nonmuscle Myosin Heavy Chain 2A Predisposes Mice to Glomerulopathy ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(10):2162-2170.
Genome-wide association studies linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the MYH9 locus to chronic kidney disease among African-Americans, particularly glomerular diseases such as HIV nephropathy and idiopathic focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). However, these MYH9 SNPs are intronic, and despite extensive sequencing, a causal variant remains elusive. To investigate the role of MYH9 in kidney disease, we selectively deleted Myh9 from mouse podocytes and found that mutant C57BL/6 mice did not develop renal insufficiency or proteinuria compared to control littermates, even when the mice were aged for 9 months. To explain the surprisingly normal phenotype, we considered genetic redundancy with the paralog Myh10 in podocytes, but we found that Myh10 was not expressed in podocytes in Myh9-deficient or control mice. We tested whether Myh9 podocyte deletion predisposed mice to glomerulopathy in response to injury by doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), and we found that Myh9 podocyte-deleted mice developed proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, while control mice were resistant. In summary, Myh9 podocyte deletion in C57BL/6 mice results in susceptibility to experimental doxorubicin hydrochloride glomerulopathy. We review evidence that MYH9 dysfunction in humans results in similar susceptibility and place our data, the first examination of Myh9 kidney disease in experimental animals, in the context of recent findings in human kidney disease, including the role of APOL1.
PMCID: PMC3133349  PMID: 21402784
17.  Polymorphisms in the Nonmuscle Myosin Heavy Chain 9 Gene (MYH9) Are Associated with Albuminuria in Hypertensive African Americans: The HyperGEN Study 
American journal of nephrology  2009;29(6):626-632.
MYH9 is a podocyte-expressed gene encoding nonmuscle myosin IIA that is associated with idiopathic and human immunodeficiency virus-associated focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and hypertensive end-stage renal disease in African Americans.
Four single nucleotide polymorphisms comprising the major MYH9 E1 risk haplotype were tested for association with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) in 2,903 HyperGEN participants (1,458 African Americans (AA) in 895 families and 1,445 European Americans (EA) in 859 families) to determine the role of MYH9 in subclinical nephropathy. Association analyses employed general linear models in unrelated probands and generalized estimating equations in families. Adjustment was performed for age, sex, diabetes, BMI, medications, and mean arterial pressure separately in each race.
Mean (SD) eGFR and ACR were 74.3 (16.0) ml/min/1.73 m2 and 20.3 (119.9) mg/g in EA, and 88.6 (20.9) ml/min/1.73 m2 and 76.8 (394.5) mg/g in AA (both p < 0.0001 across ethnicities). Urine ACR was associated with rs3752462 (p = 0.01) and rs4821481 (p = 0.05) in unrelated AA and with rs4821481 (p = 0.03), rs2032487 (p = 0.04) and the E1 3224 haplotype (p = 0.013) in AA families. Single nucleotide polymorphisms and the haplotype were not associated with ACR in EA or with eGFR in either ethnic group.
MYH9 variants are associated with albuminuria in hypertensive AA. The strength of the association was weaker than that in FSGS and hypertensive end-stage renal disease. MYH9 risk variants appear to be associated with primary FSGS with secondary hypertension, although nephrosclerosis may develop in response to hypertension in subjects homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype.
PMCID: PMC2749685  PMID: 19153477
African Americans; Albuminuria; Chronic kidney disease; Essential hypertension; HyperGEN study; MYH9 gene
18.  Polymorphisms in the Nonmuscle Myosin Heavy Chain 9 Gene (MYH9) Are Associated with Albuminuria in Hypertensive African Americans: The HyperGEN Study 
American Journal of Nephrology  2009;29(6):626-632.
MYH9 is a podocyte-expressed gene encoding nonmuscle myosin IIA that is associated with idiopathic and human immunodeficiency virus-associated focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and hypertensive end-stage renal disease in African Americans.
Four single nucleotide polymorphisms comprising the major MYH9 E1 risk haplotype were tested for association with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) in 2,903 HyperGEN participants (1,458 African Americans (AA) in 895 families and 1,445 European Americans (EA) in 859 families) to determine the role of MYH9 in subclinical nephropathy. Association analyses employed general linear models in unrelated probands and generalized estimating equations in families. Adjustment was performed for age, sex, diabetes, BMI, medications, and mean arterial pressure separately in each race.
Mean (SD) eGFR and ACR were 74.3 (16.0) ml/min/1.73 m2 and 20.3 (119.9) mg/g in EA, and 88.6 (20.9) ml/min/1.73 m2 and 76.8 (394.5) mg/g in AA (both p < 0.0001 across ethnicities). Urine ACR was associated with rs3752462 (p = 0.01) and rs4821481 (p = 0.05) in unrelated AA and with rs4821481 (p = 0.03), rs2032487 (p = 0.04) and the E1 3224 haplotype (p = 0.013) in AA families. Single nucleotide polymorphisms and the haplotype were not associated with ACR in EA or with eGFR in either ethnic group.
MYH9 variants are associated with albuminuria in hypertensive AA. The strength of the association was weaker than that in FSGS and hypertensive end-stage renal disease. MYH9 risk variants appear to be associated with primary FSGS with secondary hypertension, although nephrosclerosis may develop in response to hypertension in subjects homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype.
PMCID: PMC2749685  PMID: 19153477
African Americans; Albuminuria; Chronic kidney disease; Essential hypertension; HyperGEN study; MYH9 gene
19.  Sickle cell trait is not independently associated with susceptibility to end-stage renal disease in African Americans 
Kidney International  2011;80(12):1339-1343.
Conflicting reports exist as to whether sickle cell trait is a risk factor for the progression of nephropathy. In order to determine whether African Americans with sickle cell trait are at increased risk for kidney disease, we assessed the genetic association between sickle cell trait and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Hemoglobin S, non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9), and apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) risk variants were genotyped in 3258 unrelated African Americans: 1085 with non-diabetic ESRD, 996 with type 2 diabetes-associated ESRD, and 1177 controls. Since APOL1 is strongly associated with ESRD in African Americans, interactions between APOL1 and MYH9 risk variants and hemoglobin S were assessed using case-only and case-control centered two-way logistic regression interaction analyses. The sickle cell trait genotype frequencies were 8.7% in non-diabetic ESRD, 7.1% in type 2 diabetes-ESRD, and 7.2% in controls. There was no age-, gender-, and admixture-adjusted significance for sickle cell trait association with non-diabetic ESRD (odds ratio 1.16); type 2 diabetes-ESRD (odds ratio 1.01); or all-cause ESRD (combined non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic-ESRD patients compared to the controls; odds ratio 1.05) in dominant models. In addition, no evidence of APOL1 or MYH9 interactions with sickle cell trait was detected. Hence, sickle cell trait is not associated with diabetic or non-diabetic ESRD in a large sample of African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3280424  PMID: 21849968
African American; APOL1; diabetes; end-stage kidney disease; hemoglobin S; hypertension
20.  Fc γ R IIB gene polymorphisms in Indian systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients 
Background & objectives:
Receptors for the Fc fragment of immunoglobulin G (Fc γ Rs) represent the link between humoral and cellular immune responses. Polymorphisms in Fc γ Rs have been identified as genetic factors influencing susceptibility to various autoimmune diseases. This study was aimed to identify Fc γ R IIB genotypes in Indian systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and to correlate these with clinical presentation and autoantibody profile.
Eighty consecutive clinically diagnosed SLE patients were included. SLE patients were classified according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. Disease activity was assessed by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). PCR-RFLP method was used to detect Fc γ R IIB polymorphism.
Of the 80 SLE patients, 53 were LN and 27 were SLE without nephritis. The mean SLEDAI score at evaluation was 6.5 ± 5.8. Among SLE patients Fc γ R IIB genotype frequency was 61.2 per cent for Ile/Thr, 20.0 per cent for Thr/Thr and 18.8 per cent for Ile/Ile as compared to 65, 12.5 and 22.5 per cent respectively among normal population. There was no significant difference for Fc γ R IIB genotypes between SLE and normals. The allele frequency for Thr allele in SLE patients was slightly higher (0.51) than in normals (0.45). Thr allele frequency in LN patients was slightly higher (0.53) than in SLE patients without nephritis (0.49). Though a higher percentages of symptoms like renal manifestations (81.3%), arthritis (62.5%) and oral ulcer (56.3%) were noted in patients with Thr/Thr genotypes, no significant difference was noted when these patients were compared with Ile/Ile and Ile/Thr genotypes.
Interpretation & conclusions:
The findings of this study indicate towards an involvement of Thr allele with SLE disease severity and clinical presentation in Indian SLE patients. Future study on a large sample is needed to support this finding to understand the association of Fc γ R IIB 232Thr/Thr genotype as a susceptibility factor in SLE.
PMCID: PMC3181018  PMID: 21911970
Autoantibodies; Fc γ RIIB genotypes; lupus nephritis; SLE without nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
21.  Pilot study of an association between a common variant in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) gene and type 2 diabetic nephropathy in a Taiwanese population 
Nowadays diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Recent studies have demonstrated that the myosin, heavy chain 9, non-muscle (MYH9) gene is associated with ESRD in African Americans. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a common single nucleotide polymorphism rs16996677 in the MYH9 gene may contribute to the etiology of DN in type 2 diabetes (T2D) in a Taiwanese population with T2D. There were 180 T2D patients diagnosed with DN and 178 age- and sex-similar T2D without DN controls. Single locus analyses showed no significant main effects of MYH9 rs16996677 on the risk of DN in T2D. The results suggest that the rs16996677 SNP in MYH9 may not contribute to the risk of DN in T2D in Taiwanese T2D patients.
PMCID: PMC3681160  PMID: 23776349
diabetic nephropathy; end-stage renal disease; single nucleotide polymorphisms; type 2 diabetes
22.  Definition of risk factors for death, end stage renal disease, and thromboembolic events in a monocentric cohort of 338 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2002;61(12):1065-1070.
Background: The survival rate in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has improved dramatically during the past four decades to 96.6% (five year) in the Erlangen cohort, but it is nearly three times as high as in an age and sex matched control population. Reasons for death are mainly cardiovascular diseases (37%) and infections (29%).
Objective: To find risk factors existing at disease onset for a severe outcome in the Erlangen cohort.
Patients and methods: By using a database of 338 patients with SLE from a single centre, documented at least one to 15 years and including Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology (SLICC/ACR) damage score data and index (SDI) and an activity score (European Consensus Lupus Activity Measurement (ECLAM)), a retrospective search was made for risk factors for a severe outcome like death, end stage renal disease (ESRD), and thromboembolic events (TE) in SLE. For this purpose, multivariable Cox regression models were analysed using the statistical package SPSS 10.0 for Windows.
Results: The following were defined as risk factors for death at disease onset: male sex (p<0.001, relative risk (RR)=3.5), age >40 at disease onset (p<0.0001, RR=19.9), nephritis (p<0.05, RR=1.6), a reduction of creatinine clearance (p<0.001, RR=1.8), heart disease (p=0.05, RR=1.5), and central nervous system (CNS) disease (p=0.06, RR=1.6). An increase in the SDI of two or more points from the first to the third year of disease was the worst prognostic factor (p<0.0001, RR=7.7). The existence of Ro or nRNP antibodies, or both, was protective (p<0.05, RR =0.1). A low C3 (p<0.01 RR=3.0) and splenomegaly (p<0.01 RR=2.7) at disease onset turned out to be risk factors for ESRD besides a nephritis. In patients with hypertension (p<0.05) and/or high titres of dsDNA antibodies (>70 U/l) (p<0.01) and/or a mean ECLAM score of 4 (p<0.01) in the course of disease, a prevalence of ESRD was recorded in 9% (p<0.05) and 10% (p<0.01), and 8% (p<0.01) v 4% in the whole group. Analysis of risk factors at disease onset for TE identified positive lupus anticoagulant (p=0.17, RR=1.6), cryoglobulins (p<0.05, RR=1.8), and nephritis (p=0.05, RR=1.4), in addition to an age >40 at disease onset.
Conclusions: A subgroup of patients in the Erlangen cohort with a typical clinical and serological phenotype at disease onset that is at high risk for a worse outcome was identified. Identification of these white patients at risk at disease onset will enable treatment to be intensified and thereby possibly prevent or better control late stage manifestations.
PMCID: PMC1753955  PMID: 12429536
23.  Association of elevated transcript levels of interferon-inducible chemokines with disease activity and organ damage in systemic lupus erythematosus patients 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R112.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-system autoimmune disease with a heterogeneous course and varying degrees of severity and organ damage; thus, there is increasing interest in identifying biomarkers for SLE. In this study we correlated the combined expression level of multiple interferon-inducible chemokines with disease activity, degree of organ damage and clinical features in SLE, and we investigated their roles as biomarkers.
Peripheral blood cells obtained from 67 patients with SLE patients, 20 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 23 healthy donors were subjected to real-time PCR in order to measure the transcriptional levels of seven interferon-inducible chemokines (RANTES, MCP-1, CCL19, MIG, IP-10, CXCL11, and IL-8). The data were used to calculate a chemokine score for each participant, after which comparisons were performed between various groups of SLE patients and control individuals.
Chemokine scores were significantly elevated in SLE patients versus RA patients and healthy donors (P = 0.012 and P = 0.002, respectively). Chemokine scores were correlated positively with SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 scores (P = 0.005) and negatively with C3 levels (P < 0.001). Compared with patients without lupus nephritis and those with inactive lupus nephritis, chemokine scores were elevated in patients with active lupus nephritis, especially when their daily prednisone dosage was under 30 mg (P = 0.002 and P = 0.014, respectively). Elevated chemokine scores were also associated with the presence of cumulative organ damage (Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American Society of Rheumatology Damage Index ≥ 1; P = 0.010) and the occurrence of anti-Sm or anti-RNP autoantibodies (both P = 0.021).
The combined transcription level of interferon-inducible chemokines in peripheral blood leucocytes is closely associated with disease activity, degree of organ damage, and specific autoantibody patterns in SLE. The chemokine score may serve as a new biomarker for active and severe disease in SLE.
PMCID: PMC2592795  PMID: 18793417
24.  Association of polymorphisms in the klotho gene with severity of non-diabetic ESRD in African Americans 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(10):3348-3355.
Background. Non-diabetic forms of nephropathy commonly lead to end-stage renal disease (non-DM ESRD). Previous studies have demonstrated that African Americans are more susceptible to non-DM ESRD compared to other ethnic groups, and this risk has a strong genetic component. A genome-wide scan for ESRD in African American families enriched for non-DM ESRD showed evidence for linkage in chromosome 13q33.3, and a candidate gene in this region, klotho, was selected for a detailed analysis in a follow-up case-control association study.
Methods. Thirty-four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the klotho gene were genotyped in 317 unrelated African American non-DM ESRD cases and 354 non-nephropathy controls, including 12 SNPs identified by re-sequencing a region around exon 4.
Results. Two SNPs demonstrated modest admixture-adjusted evidence of association with non-DM ESRD, rs650439 (P = 0.013, recessive model) and rs643780 (P = 0.017, recessive model), while rs17643698 approached significance (P = 0.0953, two degrees of freedom test). Eight of the most significant SNPs were tested for replication in a second case-control collection (557 African American non-DM ESRD cases and 187 controls), and there was no evidence of association in replicate cases and controls; nor when the samples were combined for a total of 874 non-DM cases and 541 controls. Cox proportional hazards models were computed to test for association between polymorphisms in klotho and age at onset of ESRD. A three-SNP haplotype, rs526906, rs525014 and rs571118 (T/T/A), was associated with age of onset of ESRD [P = 0.007, recessive model; hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70]. Subjects homozygous for this haplotype had a mean 4 years later onset of ESRD, suggesting a slower disease progression. HapMap subjects homozygous for this haplotype had increased expression of klotho, further supporting a protective role of this variant in ESRD.
Conclusion. We conclude that three SNPs in intron 1 of the klotho gene are associated with delayed age at onset of non-DM ESRD in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC2948839  PMID: 20466664
genetics; klotho; non-diabetic ESRD
25.  Adolescent onset of lupus results in more aggressive disease and worse outcomes: results of a nested matched case—control study within LUMINA, a multiethnic US cohort (LUMINA LVII) 
Lupus  2008;17(4):314.
The objective of this study is to examine the clinical features and outcomes of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) whose disease began in adolescence [juvenile-onset SLE (jSLE)] compared with adult-onset patients [adult-onset SLE (aSLE)] from a large multiethnic cohort. Systemic lupus erythematosus patients of African-American, Caucasian, or Hispanic ethnicity and ≥1 year follow-up were studied in two groups: jSLE (diagnosed at ≤18 years); aSLE (diagnosed at 19–50 years; matched for gender and disease duration at enrolment). Sociodemographic data, SLE manifestations, disease activity, damage accrual, SLE-related hospitalizations or emergency room visits, drug utilization, mortality and psychosocial characteristics and quality of life were compared. Data were analysed by univariable and multivariable analyses. Seventy-nine patients were studied (31 jSLE, 48 aSLE); 90% were women. Mean (SD) total disease duration was 6.8 (2.7) years in jSLE and 5.6 (3.3) years in aSLE (p = 0.077). Mean age at cohort entry was 18.4 (1.8) and 33.9 (9.2) years in jSLE and aSLE respectively. By univariable analysis, jSLE patients were more commonly of African-American descent, were more likely to have renal and neurological involvements, and to accrue renal damage; jSLE patients had lower levels of helplessness and scored higher in the physical component measure of the SF-36 than aSLE patients. Renal involvement [OR = 1.549, 95% CI (1.397–15.856)] and neurological involvement [OR = 1.642, 95% CI (1.689–15.786)] were independently associated with jSLE by multivariable analysis. There was a larger proportion of African-Americans within the jSLE group. After adjusting for ethnicity and follow-up time, jSLE patients experienced more renal and neurological manifestations, with more renal damage. There was a two-fold higher mortality rate in the jSLE group.
PMCID: PMC2818044  PMID: 18413413
juvenile-onset SLE; outcome

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