A classic T-cell phenotype in Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the downregulation and replacement of the CD3ζ chain that alters TCR signaling. However, genetic associations with SLE in the human CD247 locus that encodes CD3ζ are not well established and require replication in independent cohorts. Our aim was therefore to examine, localize and validate CD247-SLE association in a large multi-ethnic population. We typed 44 contiguous CD247 SNPs in 8 922 SLE patients and 8 077 controls from four ethnically distinct populations. The strongest associations were found in the Asian population (11 SNPs in intron 1, 4.99×10−4
Mutations in the complement factor H gene (CFH) region associate with renal-limited mesangial proliferative forms of glomerulonephritis including IgA nephropathy (IgAN), dense deposit disease (DDD) and C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN). Lack of kidney biopsies could lead to under diagnosis of CFH-associated end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in African Americans (AAs), with incorrect attribution to other causes. A prior genome-wide association study in AAs with non-diabetic ESKD implicated an intronic CFH single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).
Thirteen CFH SNPs (8 exonic, 2 synonymous, 2 3′UTR, and the previously associated intronic variant rs379489) were tested for association with common forms of non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes-associated (T2D) ESKD in 3770 AAs (1705 with non-diabetic ESKD, 1305 with T2D-ESKD, 760 controls). Most cases lacked kidney biopsies; those with known IgAN, DDD or C3GN were excluded.
Adjusting for age, gender, ancestry and apolipoprotein L1 gene risk variants, single SNP analyses detected 6 CFH SNPs (5 exonic and the intronic variant) as significantly associated with non-diabetic ESKD (P = 0.002–0.01), three of these SNPs were also associated with T2D-ESKD. Weighted CFH locus-wide Sequence Kernel Association Testing (SKAT) in non-diabetic ESKD (P = 0.00053) and T2D-ESKD (P = 0.047) confirmed significant evidence of association.
CFH was associated with commonly reported etiologies of ESKD in the AA population. These results suggest that a subset of cases with ESKD clinically ascribed to the effects of hypertension or glomerulosclerosis actually have CFH-related forms of mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis. Genetic testing may prove useful to identify the causes of renal-limited kidney disease in patients with ESKD who lack renal biopsies.
African Americans; CFH; end-stage kidney disease; genetics; kidney disease
Albuminuria and reduced eGFR associate with two apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) variants in non-diabetic African Americans. Whether APOL1 associates with subclinical atherosclerosis and survival remains unclear. To determine this, 717 African American-Diabetes Heart Study participants underwent computed tomography to determine coronary artery, carotid artery, and aorta calcified atherosclerotic plaque mass scores in addition to the urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR), eGFR, and C-reactive protein. Associations between mass scores and APOL1 were assessed adjusting for age, gender, African ancestry, BMI, HbA1c, smoking, hypertension, use of statins and ACE inhibitors, albuminuria, and eGFR. Participants were 58.9% female with mean age 56.5 years, eGFR 89.5 ml/min/1.73m2, UACR 169.6 mg/g, coronary artery, carotid artery and aorta calcified plaque mass scores of 610, 171 and 5378, respectively. In fully adjusted models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with lower levels of carotid artery calcified plaque (β −0.42, SE 0.18, dominant model), and marginally lower coronary artery plaque (β −0.36, SE 0.21; dominant model), but not with aorta calcified plaque, C-reactive protein, UACR, or eGFR. After a mean follow-up of 5.0 years, 89 participants died. APOL1 nephropathy risk variants were significantly associated with improved survival (hazard ratio 0.67 for 1 copy; 0.44 for 2 copies). Thus, APOL1 nephropathy variants associate with lower levels of subclinical atherosclerosis and reduced risk of death in African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
African Americans; apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1); atherosclerosis; calcified atherosclerotic plaque; diabetes mellitus; kidney disease
Apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) G1 and G2 coding variants are strongly associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in African Americans. Here APOL1 association was tested with baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR), and prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2,571 African Americans from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), a trial assessing effects of systolic blood pressure reduction on renal and CVD outcomes. Logistic regression models that adjusted for potentially important confounders tested for association between APOL1 risk variants and baseline clinical CVD (myocardial infarction, coronary or carotid artery revascularization) and CKD (eGFR under 60 ml/min/1.73m2 and/or UACR over 30 mg/g). African American SPRINT participants were 45.3% female with mean (median) age of 64.3 (63) years, mean arterial pressure 100.7 (100) mmHg, eGFR 76.3 (77.1) ml/min/1.73m2, UACR 49.9 (9.2) mg/g, and 8.2% had clinical CVD. APOL1 (recessive inheritance) was positively associated with CKD (odds ratio 1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.08–1.73) and log UACR estimated slope [β] 0.33) and negatively associated with eGFR (β −3.58), all significant. APOL1 risk variants were not significantly associated with prevalent CVD (1.02, 0.82–1.27). Thus, SPRINT data show that APOL1 risk variants are associated with mild CKD but not prevalent CVD in African American with a UACR under 1000 mg/g.
African Americans; albuminuria; APOL1; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; SPRINT
Two APOL1 nephropathy variants confer substantial risk for non-diabetic end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in African Americans (AAs). Since not all genetically high-risk individuals develop ESKD, modifying factors likely contribute. Forty-two potentially interactive single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a genome-wide association study in non-diabetic ESKD were tested for interaction with APOL1 to identify genes modifying risk for non-diabetic nephropathy.
SNPs were examined in an expanded sample of 1367 AA non-diabetic ESKD cases and 1504 AA non-nephropathy controls, with validation in an independent family-based cohort containing 608 first-degree relatives of index cases with non-diabetic ESKD. Logistic regression and mixed models were fitted to test for interaction effects with APOL1 on ESKD, estimated kidney function and albuminuria.
Among ESKD samples, 14 of 42 SNPs demonstrated suggestive APOL1 interaction with P-values <0.05. After Bonferroni correction, significant interactions with APOL1 were seen with SNPs in podocin (rs16854341; NPHS2, P = 8.0 × 10−4), in SDCCAG8 (rs2802723; P = 5.0 × 10−4) and near BMP4 (rs8014363; P = 1.0 × 10−3); with trends for ENOX1 (rs9533534; P = 2.2 × 10−3) and near TRIB1 (rs4457349; P = 5.7 × 10−3). The minor allele in NPHS2 markedly changed the APOL1-ESKD association odds ratio (OR) from 7.03 to 1.76 (∼50% reduction in effect per copy of the minor allele), rs2802723 changed the OR from 5.1 to 10.5, and rs8014363 increased the OR from 4.8 to 9.5. NPHS2 (P = 0.05) and SDCCAG8 (P = 0.03) SNPs demonstrated APOL1 interaction with albuminuria in independent family-based samples.
Variants in NPHS2, SDCCAG8 and near BMP4 appear to interact with APOL1 to modulate the risk for non-diabetic ESKD in AAs.
African American; APOL1; bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4); kidney disease; podocin (NPHS2); serologically defined colon cancer antigen 8 (SDCCAG8)
SUDOSCAN® non-invasively measures peripheral small fiber and autonomic nerve activity using electrochemical skin conductance. Since neuropathy and nephropathy are microvascular type 2 diabetes (T2D) complications, relationships between skin conductance, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR) were assessed.
205 African Americans (AA) with T2D, 93 AA non-diabetic controls, 185 European Americans (EA) with T2D, and 73 EA non-diabetic controls were evaluated. Linear models were fitted stratified by population ancestry and T2D, adjusted for covariates.
Relative to EA, AA had lower skin conductance (T2D cases p<0.0001; controls p<0.0001). Skin conductance was also lower in T2D cases vs. controls in each population (p<0.0001, AA and EA). Global skin conductance was significantly associated with eGFR in AA and EA with T2D; adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and HbA1c, positive association was detected between skin conductance and eGFR in AA T2D cases (parameter estimate 3.38, standard error 1.2; p=5.2E−3), without association in EA T2D cases (p=0.22).
Non-invasive measurement of skin conductance strongly associated with eGFR in AA with T2D, replicating results in Hong Kong Chinese. SUDOSCAN® may prove useful as a low cost, non-invasive screening tool to detect undiagnosed diabetic kidney disease in populations of African ancestry.
African Americans; diabetes; kidney disease; neuropathy; skin conductance
Variable rates of disease observed between members of different continental population groups may be mediated by inherited factors, environmental exposures, or their combination. This manuscript provides evidence in support of differential allele frequency distributions that underlie the higher rates of non-diabetic kidney disease in the focal segmental glomerulosclerosis spectrum of disease and lower rates of coronary artery calcified atherosclerotic plaque and osteoporosis in populations of African ancestry. With recognition that these and other common complex diseases are affected by biologic factors comes the realization that targeted manipulation of environmental exposures and pharmacologic treatments will have different effects based on genotype. The current era of precision medicine will couple one’s genetic make-up with specific therapies to reduce rates of disease based on presence of disease-specific alleles.
ancestry; APOL1; cardiovascular disease; diabetes mellitus; genetics; kidney disease
Population ancestry-based differences exist in genetic risk for many kidney diseases. Substantial debate remains regarding returning genetic test results to participants. African Americans (AAs) and European Americans (EAs) at risk for ESKD were queried for views on the value and use of genetic testing in research.
A standardized survey regarding attitudes toward genetic testing was administered to 130 individuals (64 AA; 66 EA) with first-degree relatives on dialysis. Fisher’s Exact Test was used to assess differences in participant attitudes between population groups.
Mean(SD) age of surveyed AAs and EAs was 45.5(12.8) and 50.5(14.4) years, respectively (p=0.04), with similar familial relationships (p=0.22). AAs and EAs wished to know their test results if risk could be: (1) reduced by diet or exercise (100% and 98%, p=0.99); (2) reduced by medical treatment (100% and 98%, p=0.99); or (3) if no treatments were available (90% and 82%, p=0.21). If informed they lacked a disease susceptibility variant, 87% of AAs and 88% of EAs would be extremely or pretty likely to inform family members (p=0.84). If informed they had a disease susceptibility variant, 92% of AAs and 89% of EAs would be extremely or pretty likely to inform their family (p=0.43).
Attitudes toward obtaining and using genetic test results for disease in research contexts were similar in AAs and EAs at risk for ESKD. A substantial majority would want information regardless of available treatments and would share information with family. These results have important implications for patient care, study design and the informed consent process.
African Americans; bioethics; kidney disease; European Americans; genetic testing; risk prediction
Prior studies involving inner city populations detected higher cerebral white matter hyperintensity (WMH) scores in African Americans (AAs), relative to European Americans (EAs). This finding may be attributable to excess cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in AAs and poorer access to healthcare. Despite racial differences in CVD risk factor profiles, AAs have paradoxically lower levels of subclinical CVD. We hypothesized that AAs with diabetes and access to healthcare would have comparable or lower levels of WMH as EAs.
Racial differences in the distribution of WMH were analyzed in 46 AAs and 156 EAs with type 2 diabetes (T2D) enrolled in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS)-MIND, and replicated in a sample of 113 AAs and 61 EAs patients who had clinically-indicated cerebral MRIs. Wilcoxon two-sample tests and linear models were used to compare the distribution of WMH in AAs and EAs and test for association between WMH and race.
The unadjusted mean WMH score in AAs from DHS-MIND was 1.9, compared to 2.3 in EAs (p=0.3244). Among those with clinically-indicated MRIs, WMH scores were 2.9 in AAs and 3.9 in EAs (p=0.0503). Adjustment for age and gender showed no statistically significant differences in WMH score between AAs and EAs.
These independent datasets reveal comparable WMH scores between AAs and EAs. This result suggests that disparities in access to healthcare and environmental exposures likely underlie the previously reported excess burden of WMH in AAs.
African American; cognitive performance; diabetes mellitus; MRI; race; white matter hyperintensity
Marked familial aggregation of chronic kidney disease suggests that inherited factors play a major role in nephropathy susceptibility. Molecular genetics analyses have identified a number of genes reproducibly associated with a broad range of renal phenotypes. Most associations show polygenic inheritance patterns with limited effect size. In contrast, genetic association between the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene and several severe nondiabetic forms of kidney disease in African Americans approach Mendelian inheritance patterns and account for a large proportion of glomerulosclerosis in populations of African ancestry. Emerging data support an important role for APOL1 in the progression of diverse etiologies of kidney disease, in concert with requisite environmental (gene*environment) and inherited (gene*gene) interactions. This article reviews the current status of APOL1-associated nephropathy and discusses research questions under active investigation in the search for a cure for these severe and often progressive kidney diseases.
African American; APOL1; FSGS; HIV; kidney disease; progression
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.
APOL1; BK polyomavirus; HIV; JC polyomavirus; kidney disease; proteinuria
The relationship between hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD) has long been the subject of controversy. The pathogenetic mechanisms of nephropathy in non-diabetic individuals with hypertension, as well as optimal hypertension treatment targets in populations with nephropathy remain important clinical concerns. This manuscript reviews breakthroughs in molecular genetics that have clarified the complex relationship between hypertension and kidney disease, answering the question of which factor comes first. An overview of the potential roles that hyperuricemia plays in the pathogenesis of hypertension and CKD and current blood pressure treatment guidelines in populations with CKD are discussed. The ongoing National Institutes of Health-sponsored Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) is underway to help answer these important questions. Enrollment of 9,250 hypertensive SPRINT participants will be completed in 2013; important results on ideal blood pressure control targets for reducing nephropathy progression, cardiovascular disease end-points, and preserving cognitive function are expected. As such, many of the controversial aspects of hypertension management will likely be clarified in the near future.
APOL1; blood pressure control; chronic kidney disease; FSGS; hypertension; uric acid
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.
The genetic composition of a donor impacts long term allograft survival after kidney transplantation. Effects of the recipient’s genetic make-up, particularly variation in immune response pathway genes are less certain. A report in this issue of Kidney International reveals improved graft survival in transplant recipients with lower copy numbers of the complement 4 gene (C4) after receipt of deceased donor kidneys. Genomics breakthroughs in nephrology and immunology will likely revolutionize the field of transplant medicine.
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.
ancestry; cardiovascular disease risk factors; type 2 diabetes; admixture mapping
Not all individuals with type 2 diabetes and high coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) experience the same risk for adverse outcomes. This study examined a subset of high-risk individuals based on CAC >1,000 mg (using a total mass score) and evaluated whether differences in a range of modifiable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors provided further insights into risk for mortality.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We assessed contributors to all-cause mortality among 371 European American individuals with type 2 diabetes and CAC >1,000 from the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) after 8.2 ± 3.0 years (mean ± SD) of follow-up. Differences in known CVD risk factors, including modifiable CVD risk factors, were compared between living (n = 218) and deceased (n = 153) participants. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to quantify risk for all-cause mortality.
Deceased participants had a longer duration of type 2 diabetes (P = 0.02) and reduced use of cholesterol-lowering medications (P = 0.004). Adjusted analyses revealed that vascular calcified plaque scores were associated with increased risk for mortality (hazard ratio 1.31–1.63; 3.89 × 10−5 < P < 0.03). Higher HbA1c, lipids, and C-reactive protein and reduced kidney function also were associated with a 1.1- to 1.5-fold increased risk for mortality (3.45 × 10−6 < P < 0.03) after adjusting for confounding factors.
Even in this high-risk group, vascular calcification and known CVD risk factors provide useful information for ongoing assessment. The use of cholesterol-lowering medication seemed to be protective for mortality.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a devastating complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and leads to increased morbidity and premature mortality. Susceptibility to DN has an inherent genetic basis as evidenced by familial aggregation and ethnic-specific prevalence rates. Progress in identifying the underlying genetic architecture has been arduous with the realization that a single locus of large effect does not exist, unlike in predisposition to non-diabetic nephropathy in individuals with African ancestry. Numerous risk variants have been identified, each with a nominal effect, and they collectively contribute to disease. These results have identified loci targeting novel pathways for disease susceptibility. With continued technological advances and development of new analytic methods, additional genetic variants and mechanisms (e.g., epigenetic variation) will be identified and help to elucidate the pathogenesis of DN. These advances will lead to early detection and development of novel therapeutic strategies to decrease the incidence of disease.
Nephropathy; Type 2 diabetes; Albuminuria; Kidney; Genetics; Association
Chronic kidney disease remains as one of the major complications for individuals with diabetes and contributes to considerable morbidity. Individuals subjected to dialysis therapy, half of whom are diabetic, experience a mortality of ∼20% per year. Understanding factors related to mortality remains a priority. Outside of dialysis units, A1C is unquestioned as the “gold standard” for glycemic control. In the recent past, however, there is evidence in large cohorts of diabetic dialysis patients that A1C at both the higher and lower levels was associated with mortality. Given the unique conditions associated with the metabolic dysregulation in dialysis patients, there is a critical need to identify accurate assays to monitor glycemic control to relate to cardiovascular endpoints. In this two-part point-counterpoint narrative, Drs. Freedman and Kalantar-Zadeh take opposing views on the utility of A1C in relation to cardiovascular disease and survival and as to consideration of use of other short-term markers in glycemia. In the narrative below, Dr. Freedman suggests that glycated albumin may be the preferred glycemic marker in dialysis subjects. In the counterpoint narrative following Dr. Freedman’s contribution, Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh defends the use of A1C as the unquestioned gold standard for glycemic management in dialysis subjects.
—William T. Cefalu, MD Editor in Chief, Diabetes Care
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.
African American; APOL1; end-stage renal disease; FSGS; hypertensive nephrosclerosis
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.
African American; APOL1; end-stage renal disease; FSGS; kidney; screening
Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene association studies and results of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension are disproving the longstanding concept that mild to moderate essential hypertension contributes substantially to end-stage renal disease susceptibility in African Americans. APOL1 coding variants underlie a spectrum of kidney diseases, including that attributed to hypertension (labeled arteriolar or hypertensive nephrosclerosis), focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and HIV-associated nephropathy. APOL1 nephropathy risk variants persist because of protection afforded by the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness. This breakthrough will lead to novel treatments for hypertensive African Americans with low-level proteinuria, for whom effective therapies are lacking. Furthermore, APOL1 nephropathy risk variants contribute to racially variable allograft survival rates after kidney transplantation and assist in detecting nondiabetic forms of nephropathy in African Americans with diabetes. Discovery of APOL1-associated nephropathy was a major success of the genetics revolution, demonstrating that secondary hypertension is typically present in nondiabetic African Americans with nephropathy.
African American; African sleeping sickness; Arteriolar nephrosclerosis; APOL1; Chronic kidney disease; Dialysis; End-stage renal disease; ESRD: Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; Genetics; Glomerulosclerosis; Hypertension; Hypertensive nephrosclerosis; Kidney disease; Kidney donors; MYH9; Nondiabetic nephropathy; Racial differences; Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense; Transplantation