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1.  JC polyoma virus interacts with APOL1 in African Americans with non-diabetic nephropathy 
Kidney international  2013;84(6):10.1038/ki.2013.173.
Individuals with HIV infection and two apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) risk variants frequently develop nephropathy. Here we tested whether non-HIV viral infections influence nephropathy risk via interactions with APOL1 by assessing APOL1 genotypes and presence of urine JC and BK polyoma virus and plasma HHV6 and CMV by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We analyzed 300 samples from unrelated and related first-degree relatives of African Americans with non-diabetic nephropathy using linear and non-linear mixed models to account for familial relationships. The four groups evaluated were APOL1 0/1 versus 2 risk alleles, with or without nephropathy. Urine JCV and BKV were detected in 90 and 29 patients while HHV6 and CMV were rare. Adjusting for family age at nephropathy, gender and ancestry, presence of JCV genomic DNA in urine and APOL1 risk alleles were significantly negatively associated with elevated serum cystatin C, albuminuria (albumin to creatinine ratio over 30 mg/g), and kidney disease defined as an eGFR under 60 ml/min per 1.73 m2 and/or albuminuria in an additive (APOL1 plus JCV) model. BK viruria was not associated with kidney disease. Thus, African Americans at increased risk for APOL1-associated nephropathy (two APOL1 risk variants) with JC viruria had a lower prevalence of kidney disease, suggesting that JCV interaction with APOL1 genotype may influence kidney disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3844025  PMID: 23677244
APOL1; BK polyomavirus; HIV; JC polyomavirus; kidney disease; proteinuria
2.  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
3.  Evaluation of Candidate Nephropathy Susceptibility Genes in a Genome-Wide Association Study of African American Diabetic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88273.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D)-associated end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is a complex disorder resulting from the combined influence of genetic and environmental factors. This study contains a comprehensive genetic analysis of putative nephropathy loci in 965 African American (AA) cases with T2D-ESKD and 1029 AA population-based controls extending prior findings. Analysis was based on 4,341 directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 22 nephropathy candidate genes. After admixture adjustment and correction for multiple comparisons, 37 SNPs across eight loci were significantly associated (1.6E-05
PMCID: PMC3923777  PMID: 24551085
The presence and severity of coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) differs markedly between individuals of African and European descent, suggesting that admixture mapping (AM) may be informative for identifying genetic variants associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods and Results
AM of CAC was performed in 1,040 unrelated African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus from the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and Family Heart Study (FamHS) using the Illumina custom ancestry informative marker (AIM) panel. All cohorts obtained computed tomography scanning of the coronary arteries using identical protocols. For each AIM, the probability of inheriting 0, 1, and 2 copies of a European-derived allele was determined. Linkage analysis was performed by testing for association between each AIM using these probabilities and CAC, accounting for global ancestry, age, gender and study. Markers on 1p32.3 in the GLIS1 gene (rs6663966, LOD=3.7), 1q32.1 near CHIT1 (rs7530895, LOD=3.1), 4q21.2 near PRKG2 (rs1212373, LOD=3.0) and 11q25 in the OPCML gene (rs6590705, LOD=3.4) had statistically significant LOD scores, while markers on 8q22.2 (rs6994682, LOD=2.7), 9p21.2 (rs439314, LOD=2.7), and 13p32.1 (rs7492028, LOD=2.8) manifested suggestive evidence of linkage. These regions were uniformly characterized by higher levels of European ancestry associating with higher levels or odds of CAC. Findings were replicated in 1,350 AAs without diabetes and 2,497 diabetic European Americans from MESA and the Diabetes Heart Study.
Fine mapping these regions will likely identify novel genetic variants that contribute to CAC and clarify racial differences in susceptibility to subclinical CVD.
PMCID: PMC3578054  PMID: 23233742
ancestry; cardiovascular disease risk factors; type 2 diabetes; admixture mapping
American journal of nephrology  2012;36(3):252-260.
African Americans (AAs) are predisposed to non-diabetic (non-DM) end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and studies have shown a genetic component to this risk. Rare mutations in ACTN4 (α-actinin-4) an actin binding protein expressed in podocytes cause familial focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
We assessed the contribution of coding variants in ACTN4 to non-DM ESRD risk in AAs. Nineteen exons, 2800 bases of the promoter and 392 bases of the 3’ untranslated region of ACTN4 were sequenced in 96 AA non-DM ESRD cases and 96 non-nephropathy controls (384 chromosomes). Sixty-seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) including 51 novel SNPs were identified. The SNPs comprised 33 intronic, 21 promoter, 12 exonic, and 1 3’ variant. Sixty-two of the SNPs were genotyped in 296 AA non-DM ESRD cases and 358 non-nephropathy controls.
One SNP, rs10404257, was associated with non-DM ESRD (p<1.0E-4, odds ratio (OR)=0.76, confidence interval (CI)=0.59–0.98; additive model). Forty-seven SNPs had minor allele frequencies less than 5%. These SNPs were segregated into risk and protective SNPs and each category was collapsed into a single marker, designated by the presence or absence of any rare allele. The presence of any rare allele at a risk SNP was significantly associated with non-DM ESRD (p = 0.001, dominant model). The SNPs with the strongest evidence for association (n = 20) were genotyped in an independent set of 467 non-DM ESRD cases and 279 controls. Although, rs10404257 was not associated in this replication sample, when the samples were combined rs10404257 was modestly associated (p=0.032, OR=0.78, CI=0.63–0.98; dominant model). SNPs were tested for interaction with markers in the APOL1 gene, previously associated with non-DM ESRD in AAs and rs10404257 was modestly associated (p = 0.0261, additive model).
This detailed evaluation of ACTN4 variation revealed limited evidence of association with non-DM ESRD in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3510331  PMID: 22965004
ACTN4; non-diabetic ESRD; FSGS; kidney; hypertensive nephrosclerosis; African 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
Kidney international  2012;82(7):805-811.
Familial aggregation of non-diabetic end stage renal disease (ESRD) is found in African Americans and variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) contribute to this risk. To detect genetic associations with milder forms of nephropathy in high-risk families, analyses were performed using generalized estimating equations to assess relationships between kidney disease phenotypes and APOL1 variants in 786 relatives of 470 families. Adjusting for familial correlations, 23.1, 46.7, and 30.2 percent of genotyped relatives possessed two, one, or no APOL1 risk variants, respectively. Relatives with two compared to one or no risk variants had statistically indistinguishable median systolic blood pressure, urine albumin to creatinine ratio, estimated GFR (MDRD equation) and serum cystatin C levels. After adjusting for age, gender, age at ESRD in families, and African ancestry, significant associations were detected between APOL1 with overt proteinuria and estimated GFR (CKD-EPI equation), with a trend toward significance for quantitative albuminuria. Thus, relatives of African Americans with non-diabetic ESRD are enriched for APOL1 risk variants. After adjustment, two APOL1 risk variants weakly predict mild forms of kidney disease. Second hits appear necessary for the initiation of APOL1-associated nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC3443536  PMID: 22695330
African American; APOL1; end-stage renal disease; FSGS; kidney; screening
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56193.
Acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase B gene (ACACB) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2268388 is reproducibly associated with type 2 diabetes (T2DM)-associated nephropathy (DN). ACACB knock-out mice are also protected from obesity. This study assessed relationships between rs2268388, body mass index (BMI) and gene expression in multiple populations, with and without T2DM. Among subjects without T2DM, rs2268388 DN risk allele (T) associated with higher BMI in Pima Indian children (n = 2021; p-additive = 0.029) and African Americans (AAs) (n = 177; p-additive = 0.05), with a trend in European Americans (EAs) (n = 512; p-additive = 0.09), but not Germans (n = 858; p-additive = 0.765). Association with BMI was seen in a meta-analysis including all non-T2DM subjects (n = 3568; p-additive = 0.02). Among subjects with T2DM, rs2268388 was not associated with BMI in Japanese (n = 2912) or EAs (n = 1149); however, the T allele associated with higher BMI in the subset with BMI≥30 kg/m2 (n = 568 EAs; p-additive = 0.049, n = 196 Japanese; p-additive = 0.049). Association with BMI was strengthened in a T2DM meta-analysis that included an additional 756 AAs (p-additive = 0.080) and 48 Hong Kong Chinese (p-additive = 0.81) with BMI≥30 kg/m2 (n = 1575; p-additive = 0.0033). The effect of rs2268388 on gene expression revealed that the T risk allele associated with higher ACACB messenger levels in adipose tissue (41 EAs and 20 AAs with BMI>30 kg/m2; p-additive = 0.018) and ACACB protein levels in the liver tissue (mixed model p-additive = 0.03, in 25 EA bariatric surgery patients with BMI>30 kg/m2 for 75 exams). The T allele also associated with higher hepatic triglyceride levels. These data support a role for ACACB in obesity and potential roles for altered lipid metabolism in susceptibility to DN.
PMCID: PMC3584087  PMID: 23460794
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
Journal of diabetes & metabolism  2011;2(145):1000145.
The hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-α (HNF4α) gene codes for a transcription factor which is responsible for regulating gene transcription in pancreatic beta cells, in addition to its primary role in hepatic gene regulation. Mutations in this gene can lead to maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), an uncommon, autosomal dominant, non-insulin dependent form of diabetes. Mutations in HNF4α have been found in few individuals, and infrequently have they segregated completely with MODY in families. In addition, due to similarity of phenotypes, it is unclear what proportion of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in the general population is due to MODY or HNF4α mutations specifically. In this study, 27 documented rare and common variants were genotyped in a European American population of 1270 T2DM cases and 1017 controls from review of databases and literature implicating HNF4α variants in MODY and T2DM. Seventeen variants were found to be monomorphic. Two cases and one control subject had one copy of a 6-bp P2 promoter deletion. The intron 1 variant (rs6103716; MAF = 0.31) was not significantly associated with disease status (p>0.8) and the missense variant Thr130Ile (rs1800961; MAF = 0.027) was also not significantly different between cases and controls (p>0.2), but showed a trend consistent with association with T2DM. Four variants were found to be rare as heterozygotes in small numbers of subjects. Since many variants were infrequent, a pooled chi-squared analysis of rare variants was used to assess the overall burden of variants between cases and controls. This analysis revealed no significant difference (P=0.22). We conclude there is little evidence to suggest that HNF4α variants contribute significantly to risk of T2DM in the general population, but a modest contribution cannot be excluded. In addition, the observation of some mutations in controls suggests they are not highly penetrant MODY-causing variants.
PMCID: PMC3515062  PMID: 23227446
Type 2 Diabetes; HNF4A; Rare variants
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(11):e1003032.
Genetic case-control association studies often include data on clinical covariates, such as body mass index (BMI), smoking status, or age, that may modify the underlying genetic risk of case or control samples. For example, in type 2 diabetes, odds ratios for established variants estimated from low–BMI cases are larger than those estimated from high–BMI cases. An unanswered question is how to use this information to maximize statistical power in case-control studies that ascertain individuals on the basis of phenotype (case-control ascertainment) or phenotype and clinical covariates (case-control-covariate ascertainment). While current approaches improve power in studies with random ascertainment, they often lose power under case-control ascertainment and fail to capture available power increases under case-control-covariate ascertainment. We show that an informed conditioning approach, based on the liability threshold model with parameters informed by external epidemiological information, fully accounts for disease prevalence and non-random ascertainment of phenotype as well as covariates and provides a substantial increase in power while maintaining a properly controlled false-positive rate. Our method outperforms standard case-control association tests with or without covariates, tests of gene x covariate interaction, and previously proposed tests for dealing with covariates in ascertained data, with especially large improvements in the case of case-control-covariate ascertainment. We investigate empirical case-control studies of type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, age-related macular degeneration, and end-stage kidney disease over a total of 89,726 samples. In these datasets, informed conditioning outperforms logistic regression for 115 of the 157 known associated variants investigated (P-value = 1×10−9). The improvement varied across diseases with a 16% median increase in χ2 test statistics and a commensurate increase in power. This suggests that applying our method to existing and future association studies of these diseases may identify novel disease loci.
Author Summary
This work describes a new methodology for analyzing genome-wide case-control association studies of diseases with strong correlations to clinical covariates, such as age in prostate cancer and body mass index in type 2 diabetes. Currently, researchers either ignore these clinical covariates or apply approaches that ignore the disease's prevalence and the study's ascertainment strategy. We take an alternative approach, leveraging external prevalence information from the epidemiological literature and constructing a statistic based on the classic liability threshold model of disease. Our approach not only improves the power of studies that ascertain individuals randomly or based on the disease phenotype, but also improves the power of studies that ascertain individuals based on both the disease phenotype and clinical covariates. We apply our statistic to seven datasets over six different diseases and a variety of clinical covariates. We found that there was a substantial improvement in test statistics relative to current approaches at known associated variants. This suggests that novel loci may be identified by applying our method to existing and future association studies of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3493452  PMID: 23144628
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2011;26(11):3805-3810.
Background. Coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) are strongly associated with non-diabetic nephropathy in African Americans. ApoL1 proteins associate with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles in the circulation. Plasma HDL particle subclass concentrations were compared in 73 African Americans based on APOL1 genotypes to detect differences potentially contributing to renal disease.
Methods. HDL subclass concentrations were measured using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in African American first-degree relatives of patients with non-diabetic end-stage renal disease. Participants had estimated glomerular filtration rates (GFRs) > 80 mL/min and lacked albuminuria. Additive effects of the number of APOL1 risk variants on natural logarithm-transformed HDL subclass concentrations were computed.
Results. Participants were 58.9% female with mean ± SD age 47.2 ± 13.3 years and GFR 92.4 ± 18.8 mL/min. The numbers with 2, 1 and 0 APOL1 nephropathy risk variants, respectively, were 36, 17 and 20. Mean ± SD medium-sized HDL concentrations were significantly lower for each additional APOL1 risk variant (2 versus 1 versus 0 risk variants: 9.0 ± 5.6 versus 10.1 ± 5.5 versus 13.1 ± 8.2 μmol/L, respectively; P = 0.0222 unadjusted; P = 0.0162 triglyceride- and ancestry adjusted).
Conclusions. Lower medium-sized HDL subclass concentrations are present in African Americans based on increasing numbers of APOL1 nephropathy risk variants. Potential mechanistic roles of altered medium HDL concentrations on APOL1-associated renal microvascular diseases should be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3203631  PMID: 21931123
APOL1; arteriolar nephrosclerosis; FSGS; HDL cholesterol; kidney
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(6):502-509.
African-Americans (AAs) with diabetes have high incidence rates of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) with associated high mortality. Genetic factors modulating the risk of mortality on dialysis are poorly understood. Meth ods: A genome-wide association study was performed in 610 AAs with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and ESRD on dialysis, using the Affymetrix 6.0 platform (868,155 SNPs). Time to death was assessed using Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for ancestry and other confounding variables. Cases were censored at kidney transplant or (if living) at study conclusion.
Mean follow-up was 5.4 ± 3.5 years; 434 deaths were recorded. Five SNPs were associated with time to death at p < 1.00 × 10−6: rs2681019 (HR = 2.58, PREC = 8.00 × 10−8), rs815815 in CALM2 (HR = 1.51, PADD = 6.50 × 10−7), rs926392 (HR = 2.37, PREC = 4.80 × 10−7), and rs926391 (HR = 2.30, PREC = 7.30 × 10−7) near DHX35, and rs11128347 in PDZRN3 (HR = 0.57, PADD = 6.00 × 10−7). Other SNPs had nominal associations with time to death (p < 1.00 × 10−5).
Genetic variation may modify the risk of death on dialysis. SNPs in proximity to genes regulating vascular extracellular matrix, cardiac ventricular repolarization, and smoking cessation are associated with dialysis survival in AAs with T2D. These results warrant replication in other cohorts and races.
PMCID: PMC3202959  PMID: 21546767
African-Americans; Diabetes mellitus; Dialysis; Genome-wide association study; Survival
Coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) are strongly associated with nephropathy in African Americans (AAs). The effect of transplanting kidneys from AA donors with two APOL1 nephropathy risk variants is unknown. APOL1 risk variants were genotyped in 106 AA deceased organ donors and graft survival assessed in 136 resultant kidney transplants. Cox proportional-hazard models tested for association between time to graft failure and donor APOL1 genotypes. Mean follow-up was 26.4 ± 21.8 months. Twenty-two of 136 transplanted kidneys (16%) were from donors with two APOL1 nephropathy risk variants. Twenty five grafts failed; eight (32%) had two APOL1 risk variants. A multivariate model accounting for donor APOL1 genotype, overall African ancestry, expanded criteria donation, recipient age and gender, HLA mismatch, CIT, and PRA revealed that graft survival was significantly shorter in donor kidneys with two APOL1 risk variants (hazard ratio [HR] 3.84; p=0.008) and higher HLA mismatch (HR 1.52; p=0.03), but not for overall African ancestry excluding APOL1. Kidneys from AA deceased donors harboring two APOL1 risk variants failed more rapidly after renal transplantation than those with zero or one risk variants. If replicated, APOL1 genotyping could improve the donor selection process and maximize long term renal allograft survival.
PMCID: PMC3083491  PMID: 21486385
African Americans; APOL1; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; graft survival; kidney donor; kidney transplantation
Kidney international  2010;79(5):563-572.
A genome-wide association study was performed using the Affymetrix 6.0 chip to identify genes associated with diabetic nephropathy in African Americans. Association analysis was performed adjusting for admixture in 965 type 2 diabetic African American patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and in 1029 African Americans without type 2 diabetes or kidney disease as controls. The top 724 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with evidence of association to diabetic nephropathy were then genotyped in a replication sample of an additional 709 type 2 diabetes-ESRD patients and 690 controls. SNPs with evidence of association in both the original and replication studies were tested in additional African American cohorts consisting of 1246 patients with type 2 diabetes without kidney disease and 1216 with non-diabetic ESRD to differentiate candidate loci for type 2 diabetes-ESRD, type 2 diabetes, and/or all-cause ESRD. Twenty-five SNPs were significantly associated with type 2 diabetes-ESRD in the genome-wide association and initial replication. Although genome-wide significance with type 2 diabetes was not found for any of these 25 SNPs, several genes, including RPS12, LIMK2, and SFI1 are strong candidates for diabetic nephropathy. A combined analysis of all 2890 patients with ESRD showed significant association SNPs in LIMK2 and SFI1 suggesting that they also contribute to all-cause ESRD. Thus, our results suggest that multiple loci underlie susceptibility to kidney disease in African Americans with type 2 diabetes and some may also contribute to all-cause ESRD.
PMCID: PMC3056271  PMID: 21150874
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2011;20(3):622-627.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple novel loci associated with obesity in Europeans but results in other ethnicities are less convincing. Here, we report a two-stage GWAS of BMI in African Americans. The GWAS was performed using the Affymetrix 6.0 platform in 816 nondiabetic and 899 diabetic nephropathy subjects. 746,626 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for association with BMI after adjustment for age, gender, disease status, and population structure. Sixty high scoring SNPs that showed nominal association in both GWAS cohorts were further replicated in 3,274 additional subjects in four replication cohorts and a meta-analysis was computed. Meta-analysis of 4,989 subjects revealed five SNPs (rs6794092, rs268972, rs2033195, rs815611, and rs6088887) at four loci showing consistent associations in both GWAS (P < 0.0001) and replication cohorts (P < 0.05) with combined P values range from 2.4 × 10−6 to 5 × 10−5. These loci are located near PP13439-TMEM212, CDH12, MFAP3-GALNT10, and FER1L4 and had effect sizes between 0.091 and 0.167 s.d. unit (or 0.67–1.24 kg/m2) of BMI for each copy of the effect allele. Our findings suggest the presence of novel loci potentially associated with adiposity in African Americans. Further replication and meta-analysis in African Americans and other populations will shed light on the role of these loci in different ethnic populations.
PMCID: PMC3291470  PMID: 21701570
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
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
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29202.
African Americans are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes (T2DM) yet few studies have examined T2DM using genome-wide association approaches in this ethnicity. The aim of this study was to identify genes associated with T2DM in the African American population. We performed a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) using the Affymetrix 6.0 array in 965 African-American cases with T2DM and end-stage renal disease (T2DM-ESRD) and 1029 population-based controls. The most significant SNPs (n = 550 independent loci) were genotyped in a replication cohort and 122 SNPs (n = 98 independent loci) were further tested through genotyping three additional validation cohorts followed by meta-analysis in all five cohorts totaling 3,132 cases and 3,317 controls. Twelve SNPs had evidence of association in the GWAS (P<0.0071), were directionally consistent in the Replication cohort and were associated with T2DM in subjects without nephropathy (P<0.05). Meta-analysis in all cases and controls revealed a single SNP reaching genome-wide significance (P<2.5×10−8). SNP rs7560163 (P = 7.0×10−9, OR (95% CI) = 0.75 (0.67–0.84)) is located intergenically between RND3 and RBM43. Four additional loci (rs7542900, rs4659485, rs2722769 and rs7107217) were associated with T2DM (P<0.05) and reached more nominal levels of significance (P<2.5×10−5) in the overall analysis and may represent novel loci that contribute to T2DM. We have identified novel T2DM-susceptibility variants in the African-American population. Notably, T2DM risk was associated with the major allele and implies an interesting genetic architecture in this population. These results suggest that multiple loci underlie T2DM susceptibility in the African-American population and that these loci are distinct from those identified in other ethnic populations.
PMCID: PMC3251563  PMID: 22238593
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(12):3931-3934.
Background. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs2268388, in the acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase beta (ACACB) gene is associated with susceptibility to type 2 diabetic nephropathy (T2DN) in Japanese and European-American populations. Whether this association also exists in Chinese patients is unclear. Attempts at replication in small Singaporean and Korean samples were not significant.
Methods. Eight ACACB SNPs were genotyped in 595 subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus born in Hong Kong or southern China, 295 with advanced T2DN and 300 with long-standing diabetes lacking nephropathy. Association analyses were focused primarily on SNP rs2268388 and secondarily on flanking SNPs and haplotypes.
Results. Adjusting for age, gender and diabetes duration, ACACB SNP rs2268388 was significantly associated with advanced T2DN (odds ratio = 2.39; recessive model; P = 0.0129).
Conclusion. These results in the Chinese replicate the association between T2DN and rs2268388, as seen in Japanese and European Americans. The ACACB gene and attendant alterations in fatty acid oxidation may play important roles in susceptibility to T2DN. Targeting this pathway may provide novel treatment options for the prevention of diabetic nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC3108368  PMID: 20519229
ACACB; Chinese; diabetic nephropathy; kidney; type 2 diabetes mellitus
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
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
American Journal of Nephrology  2010;32(1):23-30.
African-Americans are likely to develop hypertension and hypertensive nephrosclerosis. This grave prognosis, coupled with familial aggregation of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in Blacks, prompts a search for genetic risk factors for ESRD. Recent evidence implicates a crucial role for the sympathetic nervous system in progressive renal disease.
We used the African-American Study of Kidney Disease to probe whether β2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) predicts glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decline rate. A total of 580 participants were included. Baseline GFR was 51.2 ± 0.5 ml/min/1.73 m2. Subjects were randomized in a 2 × 3 block design: to intensively lowered (MAP ≤92 mm Hg) versus ‘usual’ (MAP = 102–107 mm Hg) blood pressure goal groups, and also divided by three randomized antihypertensive drugs (ramipril, metoprolol, or amlodipine). We scored 4 SNPs at the ADRB2 locus.
Haplotypes at ADRB2 predicted chronic GFR decline rate, GFR declined more slowely in individuals with haplotype-1 (−804G→173T→16Gly→27GIn), and faster in those who carried haplotype-3 (−804G→173T→16Arg→27Gln). ADRB2 genotype interacted with antihypertensive drug class to influence GFR slope (p = 0.001–0.037). We extended our findings to an independent case/control sample of Black hypertensive ESRD, in which we found that variant Gly16Arg that tagged the GFR slope-determining ADRB2 haplotype also conferred risk for the ESRD trait in Blacks.
The GFR decline/progression rate in hypertensive renal disease is controlled in part by genetic variation within the adrenergic pathway.
PMCID: PMC2914391  PMID: 20484896
Adrenergic genetic influence; African-American Study of Kidney Disease; Chronic kidney disease; End-stage renal disease; Glomerular filtration rate; Hypertensive nephrosclerosis
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
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

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