The long-term goal of the GKDZI (Genetics of Kidney Disease in Zuni Indians) Study is to identify genes, environmental factors, and genetic-environmental interactions that modulate susceptibility to renal disease and intermediate phenotypes.
A community-based participatory research approach was used to recruit family members of individuals with kidney disease.
Setting & Participants
The study was conducted in the Zuni Indians, a small endogamous tribe located in rural New Mexico. We recruited members of extended families, ascertained through a proband with kidney disease and at least 1 sibling with kidney disease. 821 participants were recruited, comprising 7,702 relative pairs.
Predictor Outcomes & Measurements
Urine albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) and hematuria were determined in 3 urine samples and expressed as a true ratio. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was estimated using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study equation modified for American Indians. Probands were considered to have kidney disease if UACR was ≥0.2 in 2 or more of 3 spot urine samples or estimated GFR was decreased according to the CRIC (Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort) Study criteria.
Kidney disease was identified in 192 participants (23.4%). There were significant heritabilities for estimated GFR, UACR, serum creatinine, serum urea nitrogen, and uric acid and a variety of phenotypes related to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. There were significant genetic correlations of some kidney-related phenotypes with these other phenotypes.
Limitations include absence of renal biopsy, possible misclassification bias, lack of direct GFR measurements, and failure to include all possible environmental interactions.
Many phenotypes related to kidney disease showed significant heritabilities in Zuni Indians, and there were significant genetic correlations with phenotypes related to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The study design serves as a paradigm for the conduct of research in relatively isolated, endogamous, underserved populations.