A team of researchers from the United States and Europe has identified more than a dozen genes that may play a role in the etiology of common forms of kidney disease. The team, known as the CKDGen Consortium, examined common variations in DNA sequences in more than 65,000 individuals of European descent. Common variations in several genes were found to be more frequent among people with poor kidney function or chronic kidney disease than in those with normal kidney function. The researchers further confirmed their findings in more than 20,000 additional individuals. The findings are published in the April 11 edition of Nature Genetics.
Chronic kidney disease is a serious public health problem in the U.S. and around the world. Characterized by reduced kidney function or kidney damage, the disease affects approximately 10 percent of adults in the US. Research over the past 10 years has shown that chronic kidney disease increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. In addition, the disease can progress to the point where kidney transplant or dialysis is required.
Important risk factors for chronic kidney disease include diabetes and hypertension, although kidney disease clusters in families. The hereditary factors underlying chronic kidney disease have been difficult to determine until recently, when new methods to search for risk genes became available. The CKDGen Consortium applied one of the new methods, called genome-wide association study. In 2008, Johns Hopkins researchers used similar methods to identify common variants for non-diabetic end stage renal disease, gout and sudden cardiac death.
For the latest study, the CKDGen Consortium team conducted genome-wide association studies among participants of 20 population-based studies. As part of these studies, more than 2,500,000 genetic variants for each study participant were examined in relation to kidney function. The researchers
|Contact: Tim Parsons|
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health