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.