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1.  Hypertension and chronic kidney disease: controversies in pathogenesis and treatment 
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.
PMCID: PMC4030753  PMID: 23538309
APOL1; blood pressure control; chronic kidney disease; FSGS; hypertension; uric acid
2.  Genotypic variation and outcomes in kidney transplantation: donor and recipient effects 
Kidney international  2013;84(3):431-433.
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.
doi:10.1038/ki.2013.167
PMCID: PMC3761401  PMID: 23989355
3.  Association of SNPs in the UGT1A gene cluster with total bilirubin and mortality in the Diabetes Heart Study 
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(1):155-160.
Objective
A negative relationship between total bilirubin concentration (TBili) and CVD risk has been documented in a series of epidemiological studies. In addition, TBili is thought to be under strong genetic regulation via the UGT1A gene family, suggesting it may be a heritable CVD risk factor. However, few studies directly relate TBili-associated UGT1A variants to CVD severity or outcome. This study replicated the genetic association for TBili in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS), and examined the relationships of TBili-associated SNPs with measures of subclinical CVD and mortality.
Methods
This investigation included 1220 self-described European American (EA) individuals from the DHS, a family-based study examining risk for macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Genetic associations with TBili were examined using the Affymetrix Genome-wide Human SNP Array 5.0 and the Illumina Infinium Human Exome beadchip v1.0. Subsequent analyses assessed the relationships of the top TBili-associated SNPs with measures of vascular calcified plaque and mortality.
Results
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) detected 18 SNPs within the UGT1A gene family associated with TBili at p<5×10-8. The top hit was rs887829 (p=8.67×10-20). There was no compelling evidence of association between the top TBili-associated SNPs and vascular calcified plaque (p=0.05-0.88). There was, however, evidence of association with all-cause mortality (p=0.0004-0.06), the top hit being rs2741034.
Conclusion
These findings support a potential role for UGT1A genetic variants in risk for mortality in T2D. Further quantification of the extent of CVD risk conferred by UGT1A gene family variants in a high risk cohort with T2D is still required.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.04.008
PMCID: PMC3691283  PMID: 23642732
bilirubin; genetics; cardiovascular disease; vascular calcified plaque
4.  Polymorphisms in the Selenoprotein S gene and subclinical cardiovascular disease in the Diabetes Heart Study 
Acta diabetologica  2012;50(3):391-399.
Selenoprotein S (SelS), has previously been associated with a range of inflammatory markers, particularly in the context of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this study was to examine the role of SELS genetic variants in risk for subclinical CVD and mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The association between 10 polymorphisms tagging SELS and coronary (CAC), carotid (CarCP) and abdominal-aortic calcified plaque (AACP), carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and other known CVD risk factors was examined in 1220 European Americans from the family-based Diabetes Heart Study. The strongest evidence of association for SELS SNPs was observed for CarCP; rs28665122 (5′ region; β=0.329, p=0.044), rs4965814 (intron 5; β=0.329, p=0.036), rs28628459 (3′ region; β=0.331, p=0.039) and rs7178239 (downstream; β=0.375, p=0.016) were all associated. In addition, rs12917258 (intron 5) was associated with CAC (β =−0.230, p=0.032) and rs4965814, rs28628459 and rs9806366 were all associated with self reported history of prior CVD (p=0.020–0.043). These results suggest a potential role for the SELS region in the development subclinical CVD in this sample enriched for T2DM. Further understanding the mechanisms underpinning these relationships may prove important in predicting and managing CVD complications in T2DM.
doi:10.1007/s00592-012-0440-z
PMCID: PMC3597768  PMID: 23161441
genetics; atherosclerosis; calcified plaque; diabetes mellitus
5.  Genetic Analysis of Adiponectin Variation and its Association with Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(12):10.1002/oby.20419.
Objective
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine that has been implicated in a variety of metabolic disorders, including T2D and cardiovascular disease. Studies evaluating genetic variants in ADIPOQ have been contradictory when testing association with T2D in different ethnic groups.
Design and Methods
In this study, 18 SNPs in ADIPOQ were tested for association with plasma adiponectin levels and diabetes status. SNPs were examined in two independent African-American cohorts (nmax=1116) from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) and the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS).
Results
Five polymorphisms were nominally associated with plasma adiponectin levels in the meta-analysis (p=0.035–1.02x10−6) including a low frequency arginine to cysteine mutation (R55C) which reduced plasma adiponectin levels to <15% of the mean. Variants were then tested for association with T2D in a meta-analysis of these and the Wake Forest T2D Case-Control study (n=3233 T2D, 2645 non-T2D). Association with T2D was not observed (p≥0.08), suggesting limited influence of ADIPOQ variants on T2D risk.
Conclusions
Despite identification of variants associated with adiponectin levels, a detailed genetic analysis of ADIPOQ revealed no association with T2D risk. This puts into question the role of adiponectin in T2D pathogenesis: whether low adiponectin levels are truly causal for or rather a consequence.
doi:10.1002/oby.20419
PMCID: PMC3690163  PMID: 23512866
6.  Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Diabetic Nephropathy 
Current Diabetes Reports  2012;12(4):423-431.
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.
doi:10.1007/s11892-012-0279-2
PMCID: PMC3389140  PMID: 22573336
Nephropathy; Type 2 diabetes; Albuminuria; Kidney; Genetics; Association
7.  A Critical Evaluation of Glycated Protein Parameters in Advanced Nephropathy: A Matter of Life or Death 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(7):1621-1624.
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
doi:10.2337/dc12-0027
PMCID: PMC3379614  PMID: 22723586
8.  GENETICS IN KIDNEY DISEASE IN 2013 
Nature reviews. Nephrology  2013;10(2):69-70.
In 2013, substantial progress was made in uncovering the genetic basis of a variety of kidney and urological disorders, including congenital and developmental diseases. The new findings will lead to an increased understanding of the pathophysiology of these diseases, improved risk prediction and the development of novel therapies.
doi:10.1038/nrneph.2013.259
PMCID: PMC4003456  PMID: 24296626
9.  End-Stage Renal Disease in African Americans With Lupus Nephritis Is Associated With APOL1 
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1002/art.38220
PMCID: PMC4002759  PMID: 24504811
10.  The new era of APOL1-associated glomerulosclerosis 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2012;27(4):1288-1291.
doi:10.1093/ndt/gfr812
PMCID: PMC3315674  PMID: 22302261
African American; APOL1; end-stage renal disease; FSGS; hypertensive nephrosclerosis
11.  Usefulness of Biventricular Volume as a Predictor of Mortality in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus (From the Diabetes Heart Study) 
The American journal of cardiology  2013;111(8):1152-1158.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. Beyond traditional CVD risk factors, novel measures reflecting additional aspects of disease pathophysiology, such as biventricular volume (BiVV), may be useful for risk stratification. This study examined the relationship between BiVV and risk for mortality in European Americans with type 2 DM from the Diabetes Heart Study. BiVV was calculated from 771 non-contrast computed tomography scans performed to image coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC). Relationships between BiVV and traditional CVD risk factors were examined. Cox proportional hazards regression was performed to determine risk for mortality (all-cause and CVD-mortality) associated with increasing BiVV. Area under the curve analysis was used to assess BiVV utility in risk prediction models. During 8.4 ± 2.4 years (mean ± SD) of follow-up, 23% of the sample were deceased. In unadjusted analyses, BiVV was significantly associated with increasing body mass index, height, CAC, history of hypertension and prior myocardial infarction (p<0.0001–0.012). BiVV was significantly associated with all-cause (HR: 2.45; CI: 1.06–5.67; p=0.036) and CVD-mortality (HR: 4.36; CI: 1.36–14.03; p=0.014) in models adjusted for other known CVD risk factors. Area under the curve increased from 0.76 to 0.78 (p=0.04) and 0.74 to 0.77 (p=0.02) for all-cause and CVD-mortality on inclusion of BiVV. In conclusion, in the absence of echocardiography or other noninvasive imaging modalities to assess ventricular volumes, or when such methods are contra-indicated, BiVV from computed tomography may be considered as a tool for stratification of high-risk individuals, such as those with type 2 DM.
doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.12.044
PMCID: PMC3618594  PMID: 23351459
cardiovascular disease; heart size; diabetes; risk-prediction
12.  Analysis of common and coding variants with cardiovascular disease in the diabetes heart study 
Background
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor. Identification of genetic risk factors for CVD is important to understand disease risk. Two recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium detected CVD-associated loci.
Methods
Variants identified in CHARGE were tested for association with CVD phenotypes, including vascular calcification, and conventional CVD risk factors, in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) (n = 1208; >80% T2DM affected). This included 36 genotyped or imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from DHS GWAS data. 28 coding SNPs from 14 top CHARGE genes were also identified from exome sequencing resources and genotyped, along with 209 coding variants from the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip genotype data in the DHS were also tested. Genetic risk scores (GRS) were calculated to evaluate the association of combinations of variants with CVD measures.
Results
After correction for multiple comparisons, none of the CHARGE SNPs were associated with vascular calcification (p < 0.0014). Multiple SNPs showed nominal significance with calcification, including rs599839 (PSRC1, p = 0.008), rs646776 (CELSR2, p = 0.01), and rs17398575 (PIK3CG, p = 0.009). Additional COL4A2 and CXCL12 SNPs were nominally associated with all-cause or CVD-cause mortality. Three SNPs were significantly or nominally associated with serum lipids: rs3135506 (Ser19Trp, APOA5) with triglycerides (TG) (p = 5×10−5), LDL (p = 0.00070), and nominally with high density lipoprotein (HDL) (p = 0.0054); rs651821 (5′UTR, APOA5) with increased TGs (p = 0.0008); rs13832449 (splice donor, APOC3) associated with decreased TGs (p = 0.0015). Rs45456595 (CDKN2A, Gly63Arg), rs5128 (APOC3, 3′UTR), and rs72650673 (SH2B3, Glu400Lys) were nominally associated with history of CVD, subclinical CVD, or CVD risk factors (p < 0.010). From the exome chip, rs3750103 (CHN2, His204Arg/His68Arg) with carotid intima-medial thickness (IMT) (p = 3.9×10−5), and rs61937878 (HAL, Val549Met) with infra-renal abdominal aorta CP (AACP) (p = 7.1×10−5). The unweighted GRS containing coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) SNPs was nominally associated with history of prior CVD (p = 0.033; OR = 1.09). The weighted GRS containing SNPs was associated with CAC and myocardial infarction (MI) was associated with history of MI (p = 0.026; OR = 1.15).
Conclusions
Genetic risk factors for subclinical CVD in the general population (CHARGE) were modestly associated with T2DM-related risk factors and CVD outcomes in the DHS.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-77
PMCID: PMC4021556  PMID: 24725463
Coronary artery calcified plaque; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Cardiovascular disease; Genetic risk score
13.  The Role of Copy Number Variation in African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes-Associated End Stage Renal Disease 
This study investigated the association of copy number variants (CNVs) in type 2 diabetes (T2D) and T2D-associated end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans. Using the Affymetrix 6.0 array, >900,000 CNV probes spanning the genome were interrogated in 965 African Americans with T2D-ESRD and 1029 non-diabetic African American controls. Previously identified and novel CNVs were separately analyzed and were evaluated for insertion/deletion status and then used as predictors in a logistic regression model to test for association. One common CNV insertion on chromosome 1 was significantly associated with T2D-ESRD (p=6.17×10−5, OR=1.63) after multiple comparison correction. This CNV region encompasses the genes AMY2A and AMY2B, which encode amylase isoenzymes produced by the pancreas. Additional common and novel CNVs approaching significance with disease were also detected. These exploratory results require further replication but suggest the involvement of the AMY2A/AMY2B CNV in T2D and/or T2D-ESRD, and indicate that CNVs may contribute to susceptibility for these diseases.
doi:10.4172/1747-0862.1000061
PMCID: PMC3973178  PMID: 24707315
Copy number variation; African Americans; Diabetic nephropathy; End-stage renal disease; Genome-wide association study; Type 2 diabetes
14.  Coronary Calcium Score Predicts Cardiovascular Mortality in Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):972-977.
OBJECTIVE
In type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), it remains unclear whether coronary artery calcium (CAC) provides additional information about cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality beyond the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) factors.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A total of 1,123 T2DM participants, ages 34–86 years, in the Diabetes Heart Study followed up for an average of 7.4 years were separated using baseline computed tomography scans of CAC (0–9, 10–99, 100–299, 300–999, and ≥1,000). Logistic regression was performed to examine the association between CAC and CVD mortality adjusting for FRS. Areas under the curve (AUC) with and without CAC were compared. Net reclassification improvement (NRI) compared FRS (model 1) versus FRS+CAC (model 2) using 7.4-year CVD mortality risk categories 0% to <7%, 7% to <20%, and ≥20%.
RESULTS
Overall, 8% of participants died of cardiovascular causes during follow-up. In multivariate analysis, the odds ratios (95% CI) for CVD mortality using CAC 0–9 as the reference group were, CAC 10–99: 2.93 (0.74–19.55); CAC 100–299: 3.17 (0.70–22.22); CAC 300–999: 4.41(1.15–29.00); and CAC ≥1,000: 11.23 (3.24–71.00). AUC (95% CI) without CAC was 0.70 (0.67–0.73), AUC with CAC was 0.75 (0.72–0.78), and NRI was 0.13 (0.07–0.19).
CONCLUSIONS
In T2DM, CAC predicts CVD mortality and meaningfully reclassifies participants, suggesting clinical utility as a risk stratification tool in a population already at increased CVD risk.
doi:10.2337/dc12-1548
PMCID: PMC3609509  PMID: 23230101
15.  Target Organ Damage in African American Hypertension: Role of APOL1 
Current Hypertension Reports  2012;14(1):21-28.
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.
doi:10.1007/s11906-011-0237-4
PMCID: PMC3253170  PMID: 22068337
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
17.  Effects of Rare and Common Blood Pressure Gene Variants on Essential Hypertension: Results from the FBPP, CLUE and ARIC Studies 
Circulation research  2012;112(2):318-326.
Rationale
Hypertension (HTN) affects ~30% of adults in industrialized countries and is the major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Objective
We sought to study the genetic effect of coding and conserved non-coding variants in syndromic HTN genes on systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure to assess their overall impact on essential hypertension (EH).
Methods and Results
We resequenced 11 genes (AGT, CYP11B1, CYP17A1, HSD11B2, NR3C1, NR3C2, SCNN1A, SCNN1B, SCNN1G, WNK1 and WNK4) in 560 European (EA) and African (AA) ancestry GenNet participants with extreme SBP. We investigated genetic associations of 2,535 variants with BP in 19,997 EAs and 6,069 AAs in three types of analyses. First, we studied the combined effects of all variants in GenNet. Second, we studied 1000 Genomes imputed polymorphic variants in 9,747 EA and 3,207 AA ARIC subjects. Lastly, we genotyped 37 missense and common noncoding variants in 6,591 EAs and 6,521 individuals (3,659 EA/2,862 AA) from the CLUE and FBPP studies. None of the variants individually reached significant false-discovery rates (FDR≤0.05) for SBP and DBP. However, upon pooling all coding and non-coding variants we identified at least 5 loci (AGT, CYP11B1, NR3C2, SCNN1G and WNK1), with higher association at evolutionary conserved sites.
Conclusions
Both rare and common variants at these genes affect BP in the general population with modest effects sizes (<0.05 standard deviation units) and much larger sample sizes are required to assess the impact of individual genes. Collectively, conserved noncoding variants affect BP to a greater extent than missense mutations.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.112.276725
PMCID: PMC3548950  PMID: 23149595
essential hypertension; blood pressure; population genetics; sequencing; genotype
19.  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.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081888
PMCID: PMC3866106  PMID: 24358131
20.  Reappraisal of the Impact of Race on Survival in Patients on Dialysis 
Racial differences in the etiology, natural history and effects of chronic kidney disease have long been the subject of investigation. Dialysis-dependent kidney failure occurs nearly four times more often in African Americans than European Americans. Despite this observation, studies repeatedly demonstrate that African Americans have a significant survival advantage after initiating dialysis. Although this phenomenon has been attributed to environmental and socioeconomic factors, recent studies demonstrate that inherited factors strongly influence racial differences in development of diverse kidney diseases and may impact the risk for nephropathy-associated cardiovascular disease. Herein we review relevant studies and propose the hypothesis that inherited factors leading to organ-limited kidney diseases and a lower burden of systemic atherosclerosis contribute, in part, to the improved survival rates seen in African American patients on dialysis.
doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2009.10.062
PMCID: PMC2876222  PMID: 20137840
African Americans; chronic kidney disease; dialysis; race; European Americans; genetics; survival
21.  Potential effects of MYH9-associated nephropathy on dialysis and kidney transplant outcomes 
Seminars in dialysis  2010;23(3):244-247.
Several related disorders comprise the spectrum of non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9-associated (MYH9) nephropathy. The contribution of variants in this single MYH9 gene to ethnic differences in the incidence rates of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is now clearly established. The importance of recognizing the role of MYH9 in these inherited kidney disorders goes beyond simple disease association; there may well be effects on clinical outcomes in patients on dialysis and after kidney transplantation. MYH9 may adversely affect treatment outcomes in severe kidney disease and such gene effects are rarely encountered in practice.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-139X.2010.00721.x
PMCID: PMC2906610  PMID: 20492585
African American; dialysis; FSGS; kidney disease; MYH9; outcomes; transplantation
22.  Essential hypertension and risk of nephropathy: a reappraisal 
This manuscript reviews the controversial relationship between hypertension and initiation of kidney disease. We focus on ethnic differences in renal histopathology and associated gene variants comprising the spectrum of MYH9-nephropathy.
Purpose of review
Treating mild to moderate essential hypertension in non-diabetic African Americans fails to halt nephropathy progression; while hypertension control slows nephropathy progression in European Americans. The pathogenesis of these disparate renal syndromes is reviewed.
Recent findings
The non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene (MYH9) is associated with a spectrum of kidney diseases in African Americans, including idiopathic focal global glomerulosclerosis historically attributed to hypertension, idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and the collapsing variant of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (HIV-associated nephropathy). Risk variants in MYH9 likely contribute to the failure of hypertension control to slow progressive kidney disease in non-diabetic African Americans.
Summary
Early and intensive hypertension control fails to halt progression of “hypertensive nephropathy” in African Americans. Genetic analyses in patients with essential hypertension and nephropathy attributed to hypertension, FSGS and HIVAN reveal that MYH9 gene polymorphisms are associated with a spectrum of kidney diseases in this ethnic group. Mild to moderate hypertension may cause nephropathy in European Americans with intra-renal vascular disease improved by the treatment of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking cessation.
doi:10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283366344
PMCID: PMC2904692  PMID: 20051853
African Americans; CHGA; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; genetics; hypertensive nephrosclerosis; MYH9
23.  Gene-Gene and Gene-Environment Interactions in HIV-Associated Nephropathy: a Focus on the MYH9 Nephropathy Susceptibility Gene 
Human immunodeficiency virus-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) is a leading cause of end-stage renal disease in African Americans. The HIV-1 virus infects podocytes, cells integral to formation of the glomerular filtration barrier, often leading to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. HIVAN is typically a complication of late-stage HIV infection, associated with low CD4 cell counts and elevated serum HIV RNA levels. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is partially protective and has altered the natural history of HIV-associated kidney disease. Nonetheless, HIVAN remains an important public health concern among HIV-infected African Americans. Although polymorphisms in the MYH9 gene on chromosome 22 are strongly associated with HIVAN, as well as with idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and global glomerulosclerosis (historically labeled "hypertensive nephrosclerosis"), the majority of HIV-infected patients who are genetically at risk from MYH9 do not appear to develop severe kidney disease. Therefore, we postulate that additional environmental exposures and/or inherited factors are necessary to initiate human HIVAN. Gene-environment interactions have also been proposed as necessary for initiation of HIVAN in murine models. It is important that these novel risk factors be identified, as prevention of environmental exposures and targeting of additional gene products may reduce the risk for HIVAN, even among those harboring two risk alleles in MYH9.
doi:10.1053/j.ackd.2009.08.002
PMCID: PMC2814053  PMID: 20005488
African Americans; FSGS; HIV-associated nephropathy; kidney disease; MYH9
24.  Susceptibility genes in common complex kidney disease 
Purpose of review
This manuscript reviews recent efforts to identify genetic variants conferring risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). A brief overview of methods for identifying gene variants is provided, along with genetic associations and new avenues under exploration.
Recent findings
The role of renal failure susceptibility genes including MYH9, ELMO1, UMOD and ACTN4 has become clearer over the last 18 months. The spectrum of MYH9-associated kidney disease including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), global glomerulosclerosis and collapsing glomerulopathy, related entities contributing to approximately 43% of end-stage renal disease in African Americans, has come to light.
Summary
MYH9 will re-categorize FSGS and related disorders, and has clarified the relationship between hypertension and kidney disease. MYH9 polymorphisms account for much of the excess risk of HIV-associated nephropathy and non-diabetic kidney disease in African Americans. Kidney disease associations with ELMO1 and UMOD have been replicated and applications of genome-wide association studies based on expression data are providing novel insights on renal protein expression. These breakthroughs will alter our approach to kidney disease surveillance and lead to new therapeutic options.
doi:10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283331e50
PMCID: PMC2883259  PMID: 19838113
diabetes mellitus; ELMO1; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; genetics; kidney disease; MYH9
25.  Pre-eclampsia: the pivotal role of the placenta in its pathophysiology and markers for early detection 
Pre-eclampsia is the second leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States. Infants born to affected mothers face a five-fold increase in death rate [Lain and Roberts 2002; National Heart Lung and Blood Institute 2001]. Although pre-eclampsia has been recognized by physicians for millennia, relatively little is known about its pathogenesis or prevention. Predicting its development is often extremely difficult, perhaps leading the Greeks to use the name ’eklampsis’ meaning lightening. Recent studies provide novel insights into the role of the placenta in the development of pre-eclampsia and demonstrate novel markers to assist in predicting the onset of disease and potential therapeutic targets. Following an introduction which highlights the classification of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and defines incidence and adverse outcomes of pre-eclampsia, this manuscript will discuss the role of the placenta in the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia and recent markers that may predict its onset.
doi:10.1177/1753944708097114
PMCID: PMC2752365  PMID: 19124387
hypertension; pre-eclampsia; pregnancy; vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); placental growth factor (PlGF); soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1); endoglin (Eng); placental protein 13 (PP13); long pentraxin 3 (PTX3)

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