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1.  Age and Sex Disparities in Discussions About Kidney Transplantation Among Dialysis Patients 
Given reported age and sex disparities in access to kidney transplantation (KT), we sought to explore whether these disparities originate at the time of pre-referral discussions about KT.
Cross-sectional survey
26 outpatient dialysis centers in Maryland
416 patients who had recently initiated hemodialysis treatment
Participants reported whether medical professionals (nephrologist, primary medical doctor, dialysis staff) and social group members (significant other, family member, friend) discussed KT with them and, when applicable, rated the tone of discussions. Relative risks were estimated using modified Poisson regression.
Participants aged ≥65 years were much less likely to have had discussions with medical professionals (44.5% vs. 74.8%, p<0.001) or social group members (47.3% vs. 63.1%, p=0.005). Irrespective of sex, and independent of race, health-related factors, and dialysis-related characteristics, older adults were less likely to have had discussions with medical professionals (1.13-fold, 95% CI:1.03-1.24, less likely for each 5-year increase in age through 65 and 1.28-fold, 95% CI: 1.14-1.42, for each 5-year increase in age beyond 65). Irrespective of age, females were 1.45-fold (95% CI: 1.12-1.89) less likely to have had discussions with medical professionals. Males were 1.04-fold (95% CI: 0.99-1.10) less likely and females 1.17-fold less likely (95% CI: 1.10-1.24), for each 5-year increase in age, to have discussions with social group members. Among those who actually had discussions with medical professionals or social group members, older participants described these discussions as less encouraging (p<0.01).
Older adults and females undergoing hemodialysis are less likely to have discussions about KT as a treatment option, supporting a need for better clinical guidelines and education for these patients, their social network, and their providers.
PMCID: PMC4024077  PMID: 24801541
dialysis; kidney transplantation; access to transplantation; age disparities; sex disparities
2.  Free Levels of Selected Organic Solutes and Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients: Results from the Retained Organic Solutes and Clinical Outcomes (ROSCO) Investigators 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126048.
Background and Objectives
Numerous substances accumulate in the body in uremia but those contributing to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients are still undefined. We examined the association of baseline free levels of four organic solutes that are secreted in the native kidney — p-cresol sulfate, indoxyl sulfate, hippurate and phenylacetylglutamine — with outcomes in hemodialysis patients.
Design, Setting, Participants and Measurements
We measured these solutes in stored specimens from 394 participants of a US national prospective cohort study of incident dialysis patients. We examined the relation of each solute and a combined solute index to cardiovascular mortality and morbidity (first cardiovascular event) using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for demographics, comorbidities, clinical factors and laboratory tests including Kt/VUREA.
Mean age of the patients was 57 years, 65% were white and 55% were male. In fully adjusted models, a higher p-cresol sulfate level was associated with a greater risk (HR per SD increase; 95% CI) of cardiovascular mortality (1.62; 1.17–2.25; p=0.004) and first cardiovascular event (1.60; 1.23–2.08; p<0.001). A higher phenylacetylglutamine level was associated with a greater risk of first cardiovascular event (1.37; 1.18–1.58; p<0.001). Patients in the highest quintile of the combined solute index had a 96% greater risk of cardiovascular mortality (1.96; 1.05–3.68; p=0.04) and 62% greater risk of first cardiovascular event (1.62; 1.12–2.35; p=0.01) compared with patients in the lowest quintile. Results were robust in sensitivity analyses.
Free levels of uremic solutes that are secreted by the native kidney are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in incident hemodialysis patients.
PMCID: PMC4418712  PMID: 25938230
3.  Rationale and design for the Predictors of Arrhythmic and Cardiovascular Risk in End Stage Renal Disease (PACE) study 
BMC Nephrology  2015;16:63.
Sudden cardiac death occurs commonly in the end-stage renal disease population receiving dialysis, with 25% dying of sudden cardiac death over 5 years. Despite this high risk, surprisingly few prospective studies have studied clinical- and dialysis-related risk factors for sudden cardiac death and arrhythmic precursors of sudden cardiac death in end-stage renal disease.
We present a brief summary of the risk factors for arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in persons with end-stage renal disease as the rationale for the Predictors of Arrhythmic and Cardiovascular Risk in End Stage Renal Disease (PACE) study, a prospective cohort study of patients recently initiated on chronic hemodialysis, with the overall goal to understand arrhythmic and sudden cardiac death risk. Participants were screened for eligibility and excluded if they already had a pacemaker or an automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator. We describe the study aims, design, and data collection of 574 incident hemodialysis participants from the Baltimore region in Maryland, U.S.A.. Participants were recruited from 27 hemodialysis units and underwent detailed clinical, dialysis and cardiovascular evaluation at baseline and follow-up. Cardiovascular phenotyping was conducted on nondialysis days with signal averaged electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, pulse wave velocity, ankle, brachial index, and cardiac computed tomography and angiography conducted at baseline. Participants were followed annually with study visits including electrocardiogram, pulse wave velocity, and ankle brachial index up to 4 years. A biorepository of serum, plasma, DNA, RNA, and nails were collected to study genetic and serologic factors associated with disease.
Studies of modifiable risk factors for sudden cardiac death will help set the stage for clinical trials to test therapies to prevent sudden cardiac death in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC4434806  PMID: 25903746
Dialysis; Hemodialysis; Mortality; Sudden death; Sudden cardiac death; Arrhythmia; End stage renal disease
4.  The Canadian Childhood Nephrotic Syndrome (CHILDNEPH) Project: overview of design and methods 
Nephrotic syndrome is a commonly acquired kidney disease in children that causes significant morbidity due to recurrent episodes of heavy proteinuria. The management of childhood nephrotic syndrome is known to be highly variable among physicians and care centres.
The primary objective of the study is to determine centre-, physician-, and patient-level characteristics associated with steroid exposure and length of steroid treatment. We will also determine the association of dose and duration of steroid treatment and time to first relapse as a secondary aim. An embedded qualitative study utilizing focus groups with health care providers will enrich the quantitative results by providing an understanding of the attitudes, beliefs and local contextual factors driving variation in care.
Mixed-methods study; prospective observational cohort (quantitative component), with additional semi-structured focus groups of healthcare professionals (qualitative component).
National study, comprised of all 13 Canadian pediatric nephrology clinics.
400 patients under 18 years of age to be recruited over 2.5 years.
Steroid doses for all episodes (first presentation, first and subsequent relapses) tracked over course of the study. Physician and centre-level characteristics catalogued, with reasons for treatment preferences documented during focus groups.
All patients tracked prospectively over the course of the study, with data comprising a prospective registry. One focus group at each site to enrich understanding of variation in care.
Contamination of treatment protocols between physicians may occur as a result of concurrent focus groups.
Quantitative and qualitative results will be integrated at end of study and will collectively inform strategies for the development and implementation of standardized evidence-based protocols across centres.
PMCID: PMC4424503  PMID: 25960884
Nephrotic syndrome; Cohort study; Practice variation; Qualitative methods
5.  APOL1 Risk Variants, Race, and Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;369(23):2183-2196.
Among patients in the United States with chronic kidney disease, black patients are at increased risk for end-stage renal disease, as compared with white patients.
In two studies, we examined the effects of variants in the gene encoding apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) on the progression of chronic kidney disease. In the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK), we evaluated 693 black patients with chronic kidney disease attributed to hypertension. In the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study, we evaluated 2955 white patients and black patients with chronic kidney disease (46% of whom had diabetes) according to whether they had 2 copies of high-risk APOL1 variants (APOL1 high-risk group) or 0 or 1 copy (APOL1 low-risk group). In the AASK study, the primary outcome was a composite of end-stage renal disease or a doubling of the serum creatinine level. In the CRIC study, the primary outcomes were the slope in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and the composite of end-stage renal disease or a reduction of 50% in the eGFR from baseline.
In the AASK study, the primary outcome occurred in 58.1% of the patients in the APOL1 high-risk group and in 36.6% of those in the APOL1 low-risk group (hazard ratio in the high-risk group, 1.88; P<0.001). There was no interaction between APOL1 status and trial interventions or the presence of baseline proteinuria. In the CRIC study, black patients in the APOL1 high-risk group had a more rapid decline in the eGFR and a higher risk of the composite renal outcome than did white patients, among those with diabetes and those without diabetes (P<0.001 for all comparisons).
Renal risk variants in APOL1 were associated with the higher rates of end-stage renal disease and progression of chronic kidney disease that were observed in black patients as compared with white patients, regardless of diabetes status. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and others.)
PMCID: PMC3969022  PMID: 24206458
6.  Serum Fructosamine and Glycated Albumin and Risk of Mortality and Clinical Outcomes in Hemodialysis Patients 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(6):1522-1533.
Assays for serum total glycated proteins (fructosamine) and the more specific glycated albumin may be useful indicators of hyperglycemia in dialysis patients, either as substitutes or adjuncts to standard markers such as hemoglobin A1c, as they are not affected by erythrocyte turnover. However, their relationship with long-term outcomes in dialysis patients is not well described.
We measured fructosamine and glycated albumin in baseline samples from 503 incident hemodialysis participants of a national prospective cohort study, with enrollment from 1995–1998 and median follow-up of 3.5 years. Outcomes were all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality and morbidity (first CVD event and first sepsis hospitalization) analyzed using Cox regression adjusted for demographic and clinical characteristics, and comorbidities.
Mean age was 58 years, 64% were white, 54% were male, and 57% had diabetes. There were 354 deaths (159 from CVD), 302 CVD events, and 118 sepsis hospitalizations over follow-up. Both fructosamine and glycated albumin were associated with all-cause mortality; adjusted HR per doubling of the biomarker was 1.96 (95% CI 1.38–2.79) for fructosamine and 1.40 (1.09–1.80) for glycated albumin. Both markers were also associated with CVD mortality [fructosamine 2.13 (1.28–3.54); glycated albumin 1.55 (1.09–2.21)]. Higher values of both markers were associated with trends toward a higher risk of hospitalization with sepsis [fructosamine 1.75 (1.01–3.02); glycated albumin 1.39 (0.94–2.06)].
Serum fructosamine and glycated albumin are risk factors for mortality and morbidity in hemodialysis patients.
PMCID: PMC3661814  PMID: 23250799
7.  Antiretroviral-Treated HIV-Infected Women Have Similar Long-Term Kidney Function Trajectories as HIV-Uninfected Women 
Natural history studies suggest increased risk for kidney function decline with HIV infection, but few studies have made comparisons with HIV-uninfected women. We examined whether HIV infection treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) remains associated with faster kidney function decline in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. HIV-infected women initiating HAART with (n=105) or without (n=373) tenofovir (TDF) were matched to HIV-uninfected women on calendar and length of follow-up, age, systolic blood pressure, hepatitis C antibody serostatus, and diabetes history. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate differences in annual estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Person-visits were 4,741 and 11,512 for the TDF-treated and non-TDF-treated analyses, respectively. Mean baseline eGFRs were higher among women initiated on TDF-containing HAART and lower among those on TDF-sparing HAART compared to their respective HIV-uninfected matches (p<0.05 for both). HIV-infected women had annual rates of eGFR changes similar to HIV-uninfected matches (p-interaction >0.05 for both). Adjusting for baseline eGFR, mean eGFRs at 1 and 3 years of follow-up among women initiated on TDF-containing HAART were lower than their uninfected matches (−4.98 and −4.26 ml/min/1.73 m2, respectively; p<0.05 for both). Mean eGFR of women initiated on TDF-sparing HAART was lower versus uninfected matches at 5 years (–2.19 ml/min/1.73 m2, p=0.03). HAART-treated HIV-infected women had lower mean eGFRs at follow-up but experienced rates of annual eGFR decline similar to HIV-uninfected women. Tenofovir use in HIV-infected women with normal kidney function did not accelerate long-term kidney function decline relative to HIV-uninfected women.
PMCID: PMC3636577  PMID: 23273313
8.  Incidental findings on cardiac computed tomography in incident hemodialysis patients: the predictors of arrhythmic and cardiovascular events in end-stage renal disease (PACE) study 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:68.
This is the first study that has examined non-cardiac incidental findings in research cardiac computed tomography (CT) of hemodialysis patients and their relationship with patient characteristics.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis in the Predictors of Arrhythmic and Cardiovascular Events in End-Stage Renal Disease (PACE) study, a prospective cohort study on incident hemodialysis patients. Non-cardiac structures in the cardiac CT scan were reviewed and evaluated. The type and frequencies of non-cardiac incidental CT findings were summarized. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression were performed to analyze the associations between gender, older age, obesity, history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), smoking status, history of chronic pulmonary disease and history of cancer with presence of any incidental CT findings and, separately, pulmonary nodules.
Among the 260 participants, a total of 229 non-cardiac incidental findings were observed in 145 participants (55.8% of all participants). Of these findings, pulmonary nodules were the most common incidental finding (24.2% of all findings), and 41.3% of them requiring further follow-up imaging per radiology recommendation. Vascular and gastrointestinal findings occurred in 11.8% and 15.3% of participants, respectively. Participants 65 years or older had a higher odds of any incidental findings (Odds Ratio (OR) =2.55; 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) 1.30, 4.99) and pulmonary nodules (OR = 4.80; 95% CI 2.51, 9.18). Prior history of CVD was independently and significantly associated with any incidental findings (OR = 2.00; 95% CI 1.19, 3.40); but not with the presence of pulmonary nodules.
We demonstrate that the prevalence of incidental findings by cardiac CT scanning is extremely high among patients on hemodialysis. Further investigations to follow-up on the high occurrence of incidental findings during our research study and potentially clinical studies raises important practical, ethical and medico-legal issues that need to be carefully considered in research projects using imaging studies.
PMCID: PMC4019788  PMID: 24885570
Incidental findings; Cardiac; Computed tomography; Hemodialysis; Prevalence; Pulmonary nodule
9.  Host APOL1 genotype is independently associated with proteinuria in HIV infection 
Kidney international  2013;84(4):834-840.
Proteinuria is associated with adverse clinical outcomes in HIV infection. Here we evaluated whether APOL1 risk alleles, previously associated with advanced kidney disease, is independently associated with proteinuria in HIV infection in a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. We estimated the percent difference in urine protein excretion and odds of proteinuria (200 mg/g and higher) associated with two versus one or no APOL1 risk allele using linear and logistic regression, respectively. Of 1285 women successfully genotyped, 379 carried one and 80 carried two risk alleles. Proteinuria was present in 124 women; 78 of whom had proteinuria confirmed on a second sample. In women without prior AIDS, two risk alleles were independently associated with a 69% higher urine protein excretion (95% CI: 36%, 108%) and 5-fold higher odds of proteinuria (95% CI: 2.45, 10.37) versus one or no risk allele. No association was found in women with prior AIDS. Analyses in which women with impaired kidney function were excluded and proteinuria was confirmed by a second urine sample yielded similar estimates. Thus, APOL1 risk alleles are associated with significant proteinuria in HIV-infected persons without prior clinical AIDS, independent of clinical factors traditionally associated with proteinuria. Trials are needed to determine whether APOL1 genotyping identifies individuals who could benefit from earlier intervention to prevent overt renal disease.
PMCID: PMC3788838  PMID: 23715117
10.  A Genome-Wide Search for Linkage of Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) in the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81888.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, is heritable, suggesting that genes influence renal function. Genes that influence eGFR have been identified through genome-wide association studies. However, family-based linkage approaches may identify loci that explain a larger proportion of the heritability. This study used genome-wide linkage and association scans to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) that influence eGFR.
Genome-wide linkage and sparse association scans of eGFR were performed in families ascertained by probands with advanced diabetic nephropathy (DN) from the multi-ethnic Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) study. This study included 954 African Americans (AA), 781 American Indians (AI), 614 European Americans (EA) and 1,611 Mexican Americans (MA). A total of 3,960 FIND participants were genotyped for 6,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the Illumina Linkage IVb panel. GFR was estimated by the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) formula.
The non-parametric linkage analysis, accounting for the effects of diabetes duration and BMI, identified the strongest evidence for linkage of eGFR on chromosome 20q11 (log of the odds [LOD] = 3.34; P = 4.4×10−5) in MA and chromosome 15q12 (LOD = 2.84; P = 1.5×10−4) in EA. In all subjects, the strongest linkage signal for eGFR was detected on chromosome 10p12 (P = 5.5×10−4) at 44 cM near marker rs1339048. A subsequent association scan in both ancestry-specific groups and the entire population identified several SNPs significantly associated with eGFR across the genome.
The present study describes the localization of QTL influencing eGFR on 20q11 in MA, 15q21 in EA and 10p12 in the combined ethnic groups participating in the FIND study. Identification of causal genes/variants influencing eGFR, within these linkage and association loci, will open new avenues for functional analyses and development of novel diagnostic markers for DN.
PMCID: PMC3866106  PMID: 24358131
11.  Apolipoprotein L1 gene variants associate with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and the rate of kidney function decline in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;83(1):114-120.
Despite intensive anti-hypertensive therapy there was a high incidence of renal end-points in participants of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) cohort. To better understand this, coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) and the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) genes were evaluated for an association with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and clinical outcomes in a case-control study. Clinical data and DNA were available for 675 AASK participant cases and 618 African American non-nephropathy control individuals. APOL1 G1 and G2, and MYH9 E1 variants along with 44 ancestry informative markers were genotyped with allele frequency differences between cases and controls analyzed by logistic regression multivariable models adjusting for ancestry, age, and gender. In recessive models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with kidney disease in all cases compared to controls with an odds ratio of 2.57. In AASK cases with more advanced disease, such as a baseline urine protein to creatinine ratio over 0.6 g/g or a serum creatinine over 3 mg/dL during follow-up, the association was strengthened with odds ratios of 6.29 and 4.61, respectively. APOL1 risk variants were consistently associated with renal disease progression across medication classes and blood pressure targets. Thus, kidney disease in AASK participants was strongly associated with APOL1 renal risk variants.
PMCID: PMC3484228  PMID: 22832513
12.  Retained organic solutes, patient characteristics and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in hemodialysis: results from the retained organic solutes and clinical outcomes (ROSCO) investigators 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:134.
Multiple solutes are retained in uremia, but it is currently unclear which solutes are toxic. Small studies suggest that protein-bound solutes, such as p-cresol sulfate and indoxyl sulfate and intracellular solutes, such as methylamine (MMA) and dimethylamine (DMA), may be toxic. Our objective was to test whether elevated levels of these solutes were associated with mortality.
We conducted a prospective cohort study in 521 U.S. incident hemodialysis patients to evaluate associations between these solutes and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. P-cresol sulfate, indoxyl sulfate, MMA and DMA levels were measured from frozen plasma samples obtained 2 to 6 months after initiation of dialysis. Mortality data was available through 2004 using the National Death Index.
Elevated (greater than the population median) p-cresol sulfate, MMA or DMA levels were not associated with all-cause or cardiovascular mortality. Elevated indoxyl sulfate levels were associated with all-cause mortality but not cardiovascular mortality (hazard ratio 1.30 (95% confidence interval 1.01, 1.69) p-value 0.043).
In this cohort of 521 incident hemodialysis patients, only elevated indoxyl sulfate levels were associated with all-cause mortality. Further research is needed to identify causes of the toxicity of uremia to provide better care for patients with kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3698023  PMID: 23806101
All-cause Mortality; Cardiovascular Mortality; Dialysis Outcomes; Indoxyl Sulfate; P-cresol Sulfate; Uremic Solutes
13.  Genetic Association and Gene-Gene Interaction Analyses in African American Dialysis Patients With Nondiabetic Nephropathy 
African Americans (AAs) have increased susceptibility to non-diabetic nephropathy relative to European Americans.
Study Design
Follow-up of a pooled genome-wide association study (GWAS) in AA dialysis patients with nondiabetic nephropathy; novel gene-gene interaction analyses.
Setting & Participants
Wake Forest sample: 962 AA nondiabetic nephropathy cases; 931 non-nephropathy controls. Replication sample: 668 Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) AA nondiabetic nephropathy cases; 804 non-nephropathy controls.
Individual genotyping of top 1420 pooled GWAS-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 54 SNPs in six nephropathy susceptibility genes.
APOL1 genetic association and additional candidate susceptibility loci interacting with, or independently from, APOL1.
The strongest GWAS associations included two non-coding APOL1 SNPs, rs2239785 (odds ratio [OR], 0.33; dominant; p = 5.9 × 10−24) and rs136148 (OR, 0.54; additive; p = 1.1 × 10−7) with replication in FIND (p = 5.0 × 10−21 and 1.9 × 10−05, respectively). Rs2239785 remained significantly associated after controlling for the APOL1 G1 and G2 coding variants. Additional top hits included a CFH SNP(OR from meta-analysis in above 3367 AA cases and controls, 0.81; additive; p = 6.8 × 10−4). The 1420 SNPs were tested for interaction with APOL1 G1 and G2 variants. Several interactive SNPs were detected, the most significant was rs16854341 in the podocin gene (NPHS2) (p = 0.0001).
Non-pooled GWAS have not been performed in AA nondiabetic nephropathy.
This follow-up of a pooled GWAS provides additional and independent evidence that APOL1 variants contribute to nondiabetic nephropathy in AAs and identified additional associated and interactive non-diabetic nephropathy susceptibility genes.
PMCID: PMC3259209  PMID: 22119407
African American; APOL1; CFH; end-stage renal disease; FIND; FSGS; hypertension
14.  The rationale and design of Insight into Nephrotic Syndrome: Investigating Genes, Health and Therapeutics (INSIGHT): a prospective cohort study of childhood nephrotic syndrome 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:25.
Nephrotic syndrome is one of the most commonly diagnosed kidney diseases in childhood and its progressive forms can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). There have been few longitudinal studies among a multi-ethnic cohort to determine potential risk factors influencing disease susceptibility, treatment response, and progression of nephrotic syndrome. Temporal relationships cannot be studied through cross-sectional study design. Understanding the interaction between various factors is critical to developing new strategies for treating children with kidney disease. We present the rationale and the study design of a longitudinal cohort study of children with nephrotic syndrome, the Insight into Nephrotic Syndrome: Investigating Genes, Health and Therapeutics (INSIGHT) study. The specific aims are to determine: 1) socio-demographic, environmental, and genetic factors that influence disease susceptibility; 2) rates of steroid treatment resistance and steroid treatment dependence, and identify factors that may modify treatment response; 3) clinical and genetic factors that influence disease susceptibility and progression to CKD and ESRD; and 4) the interaction between the course of illness and socio-demographic, environmental, and clinical risk factors.
INSIGHT is a disease-based observational longitudinal cohort study of children with nephrotic syndrome. At baseline, participants complete questionnaires and provide biological specimen samples (blood, urine, and toenail clippings). Follow-up questionnaires and repeat biological specimen collections are performed annually for up to five years.
The proposed cohort will provide the structure to test various risk factors predicting or influencing disease susceptibility, treatment response, and progression to CKD among children with nephrotic syndrome.
Trial registration Identifier NCT01605266.
PMCID: PMC3608224  PMID: 23351121
Children; Nephrotic syndrome; Cohort; Chronic kidney disease; FSGS; Minimal change disease; Study protocol
15.  Net endogenous acid production is associated with a faster decline in GFR in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;82(1):106-112.
Increased acid excretion may promote renal injury. To evaluate this in African Americans with hypertensive nephrosclerosis, we studied the association between the net endogenous acid production and progression of kidney disease in 632 patients in the AASK trial. Protein and potassium intakes were estimated from 24-hour urea nitrogen and potassium excretion, and used to estimate net endogenous acid production, averaged over 2 years, approximating routine intake. The link between net endogenous acid production and the I125iothalamate glomerular filtration rate (iGFR) and time to end stage renal disease or doubling of serum creatinine was analyzed using mixed models and Cox proportional hazards regressions. The trend in higher net endogenous acid production was significantly associated with a faster decline in iGFR over a median of 3.2 years. After adjustment for age, body mass index, baseline iGFR, urine protein to creatinine ratio and randomized treatment group, the trend in higher net endogenous acid production remained significantly associated with a faster decline in iGFR at a rate 1.01 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year faster in the highest to the lowest quartile. However, in time to event analyses over a median of 7.7 years, the adjusted hazard ratio (1.10) for composite renal events per 25 mEq/day higher net endogenous acid production was not significant. Hence, our findings implicate endogenous acid production as a potential modifiable risk factor for progressive kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3540413  PMID: 22475819
16.  Chronic kidney disease and estimates of kidney function in HIV infection: a cross-sectional study in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study 
Cystatin C has been proposed as an alternative marker of kidney function among HIV-infected persons in whom serum creatinine is affected by extra-renal factors.
In this cross-sectional study, we compared estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) using serum creatinine versus cystatin C between 150 HIV-uninfected and 783 HIV-infected men. We evaluated the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD; eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2) and examined the influence of extra-renal factors on GFR-estimates among HIV-infected men.
Estimated GFRSCR was similar by HIV serostatus, but eGFRCYSC was lower in HIV-infected men. A higher proportion of HIV-infected men were classified as having CKD when using eGFRCYSC versus eGFRSCR (7% vs. 5%, P<0.01). In HIV-infected individuals without CKD, eGFRSCR was higher than eGFRCYSC while it was lower than eGFRCYSC in persons with CKD. In HIV-infected men, older age, proteinuria, and prior clinical AIDS were inversely associated with both GFR-estimates. Higher serum albumin levels and ACE-inhibitor/ARB use were associated with lower eGFRSCR. HIV viral load, hepatitis C co-infection, and serum alkaline phosphatase were inversely associated with eGFRCYSC.
Among HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected men of similar social risk behaviors, GFR estimates differed by biomarker and kidney function level. Estimated GFRCYSC classified a larger proportion of HIV-infected men with CKD compared to eGFRSCR. Differences between these GFR-estimating methods may be due to the effects of extra-renal factors on serum creatinine and cystatin C. Until GFR-estimating equations are validated among HIV-infected individuals, current GFR estimates based on these biomarkers should be interpreted with care in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3159728  PMID: 21646913
HIV; kidney disease; serum creatinine; cystatin C; glomerular filtration rate; Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study
17.  The MYH9/APOL1 region and chronic kidney disease in European-Americans 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(12):2450-2456.
Polymorphisms in the MYH9 and adjacent APOL1 gene region demonstrate a strong association with non-diabetic kidney disease in African-Americans. However, it is not known to what extent these polymorphisms are present in other ethnic groups. To examine the association of genetic polymorphisms in this region with chronic kidney disease (CKD; estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) in individuals of European ancestry, we examined rs4821480, an MYH9 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) recently identified as associated with kidney disease in African-Americans, in 13 133 participants from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. In addition, we further interrogated the MYH9/APOL1 gene region using 282 SNPs for association with CKD using age-, sex- and center-adjusted models and performed a meta-analysis of the results from both studies. Because of prior data linking rs4821480 and kidney disease, we used a P-value of <0.05 to test the association with CKD. In the meta-analysis, rs4821480 (minor allele frequency 4.45 and 3.96% in FHS and ARIC, respectively) was associated with higher CKD prevalence in participants free of diabetes (odds ratio 1.44; 95% confidence interval 1.15–1.80; P = 0.001). No other SNPs achieved significance after adjusting for multiple testing. Results utilizing directly genotyped data confirmed the results of the primary analysis. Recently identified APOL1 risk variants were also directly genotyped, but did not account for the observed MYH9 signal. These data suggest that the MYH9 polymorphism rs4821480 is associated with an increased risk of non-diabetic CKD in individuals of European ancestry.
PMCID: PMC3098737  PMID: 21429915
18.  Genomewide Linkage Scan for Diabetic Renal Failure and Albuminuria: The FIND Study 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(5):381-389.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The multicenter FIND consortium aims to identify genes for DN and its associated quantitative traits, e.g. the urine albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR). Herein, the results of whole-genome linkage analysis and a sparse association scan for ACR and a dichotomous DN phenotype are reported in diabetic individuals.
A genomewide scan comprising more than 5,500 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphism markers (average spacing of 0.6 cM) was performed on 1,235 nuclear and extended pedigrees (3,972 diabetic participants) ascertained for DN from African-American (AA), American-Indian (AI), European-American (EA) and Mexican-American (MA) populations.
Strong evidence for linkage to DN was detected on chromosome 6p (p = 8.0 × 10−5, LOD = 3.09) in EA families as well as suggestive evidence for linkage to chromosome 7p in AI families. Regions on chromosomes 3p in AA, 7q in EA, 16q in AA and 22q in MA displayed suggestive evidence of linkage for urine ACR. The linkage peak on chromosome 22q overlaps the MYH9/APOL1 gene region, previously implicated in AA diabetic and nondiabetic nephropathies.
These results strengthen the evidence for previously identified genomic regions and implicate several novel loci potentially involved in the pathogenesis of DN.
PMCID: PMC3078269  PMID: 21454968
Albuminuria; Diabetes mellitus; Renal failure; End-stage renal disease; Linkage; Allelic association
19.  Soluble P-Selectin Levels Are Associated with Cardiovascular Mortality and Sudden Cardiac Death in Male Dialysis Patients 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(3):224-230.
P-selectin is released by activated platelets and endothelium contributing to inflammation and thrombosis. We evaluated the association between soluble P-selectin and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in dialysis patients.
We measured soluble P-selectin in serum from 824 incident dialysis patients. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we modeled the association of P-selectin levels with ASCVD events, cardiovascular mortality and sudden cardiac death.
After adjustment for demographics, comorbidity and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, higher P-selectin levels were associated with increased risk of ASCVD and cardiovascular mortality among males (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively), but not females (p = 0.52 and p = 0.31, respectively; p interaction = 0.003), over a median of 38.2 months. Higher P-selectin was associated with a greater risk of sudden cardiac death among males (p = 0.05). The associations between increasing P-selectin and cardiovascular mortality as well as sudden cardiac death in males persisted after adjustment for C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, serum albumin and platelet count (p = 0.01 and p = 0.03, respectively). The risk for sudden cardiac death was more than 3 times greater for males in the highest tertile of soluble P-selectin compared with the lowest tertile after adjustment (HR: 3.19; 95% CI: 1.18 – 8.62; p = 0.02).
P-selectin is associated with ASCVD, cardiovascular mortality and sudden cardiac death among male dialysis patients.
PMCID: PMC3064942  PMID: 21346329
Cardiovascular disease; Dialysis; End-stage renal disease; Inflammation; Sudden cardiac death; P-selectin
20.  The Impact of Kidney Function at HAART Initiation on Mortality in HIV-infected Women 
In the early highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era, kidney dysfunction was strongly associated with death among HIV-infected individuals. We re-examined this association in the later HAART period to determine whether chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains a predictor of death after HAART-initiation.
To evaluate the effect of kidney function at the time of HAART initiation on time to all-cause mortality, we evaluated 1415 HIV-infected women initiating HAART in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Multivariable proportional hazards models with survival times calculated from HAART initiation to death were constructed; participants were censored at the time of the last available visit or December 31, 2006.
CKD (eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) at HAART initiation was associated with higher mortality risk adjusting for age, race, hepatitis C serostatus, AIDS history and CD4+ cell count (hazard ratio [HR]=2.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.45–3.43). Adjustment for hypertension and diabetes history attenuated this association (HR=1.89, CI: 0.94–3.80). Lower kidney function at HAART initiation was weakly associated with increased mortality risk in women with prior AIDS (HR=1.09, CI: 1.00–1.19, per 20% decrease in eGFR).
Kidney function at HAART initiation remains an independent predictor of death in HIV-infected individuals, especially in those with a history of AIDS. Our study emphasizes the necessity of monitoring kidney function in this population. Additional studies are needed to determine mechanisms underlying the increased mortality risk associated with CKD in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3243740  PMID: 20581688
kidney disease; mortality; HIV; WIHS; antiretroviral therapy
21.  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
22.  Prevalence of kidney disease in anaemia differs by GFR-estimating method: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–94) 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(8):2542-2548.
Background. Anaemia worsens as kidney function declines. Both conditions are associated with increased mortality. Serum cystatin C is purportedly a more sensitive marker of kidney disease and a better predictor of mortality than serum creatinine. However, studies suggest that extrarenal factors also influence cystatin C levels.
Methods. We determined whether estimates of glomerular filtration rate [estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)] based on serum cystatin C alone or in combination with serum creatinine were superior to those based on serum creatinine in recognizing impaired kidney function in the setting of anaemia in a sub-sample of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the USA consisting of 6734 participants, 20 years or older.
Results. The prevalence of moderate to severe kidney disease (eGFR 15–59 mL/min/1.73 m2) among anaemic persons was 15–16% when based on serum creatinine alone (eGFRSCR) or combined with cystatin C (eGFRSCR + CYSC); this estimate increased to nearly 25% when kidney function was estimated by cystatin C (eGFRCYSC). The adjusted odds ratios of kidney disease in anaemic versus non-anaemic persons were slightly higher with eGFRCYSC than eGFRSCR and eGFRSCR + CYSC in younger adults [odds ratio (OR) = 5.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.23, 12.17], women (OR = 5.34, 95% CI: 2.36, 12.06) and those with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) (OR = 7.36, 95% CI: 1.98–27.36).
Conclusions. Impaired kidney function was common in individuals with anaemia. Among anaemic individuals, the prevalence estimate for kidney disease was notably higher when kidney function was estimated by cystatin C alone compared with the estimations by serum creatinine alone or in combination with serum cystatin C. eGFRCYSC may be particularly helpful in identifying kidney disease in the setting of anaemia among younger persons, women and those with elevated CRP. Regardless of which renal biomarker is used, our study suggests that an evaluation for underlying kidney disease should be considered in the standard workup of anaemia.
PMCID: PMC2910334  PMID: 20176612
anaemia; chronic kidney failure; creatinine; cystatin C; glomerular filtration rate
23.  Association of Residual Urine Output with Mortality, Quality of Life, and Inflammation in Incident Hemodialysis Patients: The CHOICE (Choices for Healthy Outcomes in Caring for End-Stage Renal Disease) Study 
Residual kidney function (RKF) is associated with improved survival in peritoneal dialysis patients but its role in hemodialysis patients is less well known. Urine output may provide an estimate of RKF. The aim of our study was to determine the association of urine output with mortality, quality of life (QOL) and inflammation in incident hemodialysis patients.
Study Design
Nationally representative prospective cohort study
Setting & Participants
734 incident hemodialysis participants treated in 81 clinics; enrollment, 1995-1998, follow-up until December 2004.
Urine output, defined as producing at least 250 mL (1 cup) of urine daily, ascertained by questionnaires at baseline and year 1.
Outcomes & Measurements
Primary outcomes were all-cause and cardiovascular (CVD) mortality, analyzed using Cox regression adjusted for demographic, clinical and treatment characteristics. Secondary outcomes were QOL, inflammation (CRP and interleukin-6 [IL-6] levels) and erythropoietin (EPO) requirements.
617/734 (84%) participants reported urine output at baseline and 163/579 (28%) at year 1. Baseline urine output was not associated with survival. Urine output at year 1, indicating preserved RKF, was independently associated with lower all-cause mortality (Hazard Ratio [HR], 0.70; 95% Confidence Interval [CI], 0.52-0.93; p=0.02) and a trend towards lower CVD mortality (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.45-1.05; p=0.09). Participants with urine output at baseline reported better QOL and had lower CRP (p=0.02) and IL-6 (p=0.03) levels. Importantly, EPO dose was 12,000 units/week lower in those with urine output at year 1 compared with those without (p=0.001).
Urine volume was measured in only a subset of patients (42%) but was in agreement with self-report (p<0.001).
RKF in hemodialysis patients is associated with better survival and QOL, lower inflammation and significantly less EPO use. RKF should be monitored routinely in hemodialysis patients. Development of methods to assess and preserve RKF is important and may improve dialysis care.
PMCID: PMC2910835  PMID: 20605303
End-stage Renal Disease; Hemodialysis; Residual Kidney Function; Mortality; Quality of Life; Inflammation
24.  Blood Pressure in Children with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Report from the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Study 
Hypertension  2008;52(4):631-637.
To characterize the distribution of blood pressure (BP), prevalence and risk factors for hypertension in pediatric chronic kidney disease (CKD), we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline BP's in 432 children (mean age 11y; 60% male; mean glomerular filtration rate [GFR] 44 ml/min/1.73m2) enrolled in the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children cohort study. BP's were obtained using an aneroid sphygmomanometer. GFR was measured by iohexol disappearance. Elevated BP was defined as BP≥90th percentile for age, gender and height. Hypertension was defined as BP≥95th percentile or as self-reported hypertension plus current treatment with antihypertensive medications.
For systolic BP, 14% were hypertensive and 11% were pre-hypertensive (BP 90-95th percentile); 68% of subjects with elevated SBP were taking antihypertensive medications. For diastolic BP, 14% were hypertensive, and 9% were pre-hypertensive; 53% of subjects with elevated DBP were taking antihypertensive medications. 54% of subjects had either systolic or diastolic BP≥95th percentile or a history of hypertension plus current antihypertensive use.
Characteristics associated with elevated BP included black race, shorter duration of CKD, absence of antihypertensive medication use, and elevated serum potassium. Among subjects receiving antihypertensive treatment, uncontrolled BP was associated with male sex, shorter CKD duration and absence of ACE inhibitor or ARB use.
37% of children with CKD had either elevated systolic or diastolic BP, and 39% of these were not receiving antihypertensives, indicating that hypertension in pediatric CKD may be frequently under- or even un-treated. Treatment with ACE inhibitors or ARB's may improve BP control in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3136362  PMID: 18725579
kidney disease; children; adolescents; hypertension; blood pressure; ACE inhibitors
25.  Genetic basis of non-diabetic end-stage renal disease 
Seminars in nephrology  2010;30(2):101-110.
Recent breakthroughs in genomics have led to a critical reappraisal of factors once thought to initiate common complex forms of kidney disease. The tenet that diabetes mellitus and hypertension routinely initiate kidney disease whenever blood glucose concentrations or systemic blood pressures reach critical levels for prolonged periods is falling from favor, although it remains important to control hypertension and hyperglycemia to slow nephropathy progression and prevent cardiovascular disease. Many patients with systemic diseases that may potentially involve their kidneys never develop nephropathy. In addition, severe forms of several common kidney diseases cluster tightly in families. This manuscript discusses the existence of differential nephropathy susceptibility based on an individual's genetic make-up, in the context of environmental exposures. Novel genetic analysis methods and recently identified major kidney disease susceptibility genes are discussed, including novel perspectives for categorizing complex forms of nephropathy based on the expanding spectrum of MYH9-associated disease. Genetic screening, gene-environment and gene-gene interactions are also addressed.
PMCID: PMC2909624  PMID: 20347640
African American; chronic kidney disease; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; hypertension; genetics; MYH9

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