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Better ways to predict kidney disease risk for African Americans
Date:10/13/2011

occurs," said Dr. Thadani. These results suggest that patients with two variants may benefit from early therapies to protect their kidneys.

John Sedor, MD (Case Western Reserve University) and his collaborators examined individuals' kidney tissues and found that the protein created by the APOL1 gene resides in different regions of the kidney in patients with FSGS or HIVAN compared to individuals without kidney disease. "Its appearance in the walls of small arteries in the kidney that occurs only in disease suggests that blood vessels may have an underappreciated role in the development and progression of these diseases," said Dr. Sedor.

People inherit two copies of the APOL1 gene -- one from each parent. If they inherit only one copy with a variant, they are resistant to infections caused by a parasite endemic to Africa. For this reason, the variants are common in individuals with African ancestry. Unfortunately, if both copies of the APOL1 gene contain a variant, an individual has an increased risk of kidney failure.

The studies' results provide new information about kidney disease and point to the dangers that African Americans with APOL1 gene variants may face if steps are not taken to protect their kidneys. Early screening and treatment could potentially safeguard against kidney failure and early death for millions of individuals.


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Contact: Adrienne Lea
alea@asn-online.org
American Society of Nephrology
Source:Eurekalert

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