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Gene linked to worsening kidney disease in African-Americans
Date:11/20/2010

In African Americans with kidney disease related to hypertension (high blood pressure), a common gene variant is associated with a sharply increased risk of progressive kidney disease, according to a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology's 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition. End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) associated with hypertension occurs in the African American population at a rate 13.1 times greater than that of their white counterparts.

"We found that individuals with the common genotype were approximately 1.5 times more likely to have progressive kidney disease than those with other genotypes," comments Brad C. Astor, PhD (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore). The variant genefound in more than half of patients in the studycould contribute to the high rate of ESRD among African Americans.

The researchers performed genetic studies to identify variant forms of the gene MYH9 in 706 African Americans with kidney disease related to high blood pressure (hypertensive nephrosclerosis). The patients were drawn from a larger study, the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK).

"African Americans are at much higher risk of ESRD compared to white Americans, but the reasons for this discrepancy are unknown," Astor explains. "A genetic variation of the MYH9 gene, common in African Americans, was recently found to be associated with ESRD in individuals without diabetes. We examined the association between this genetic variation and progression of kidney disease in African Americans with hypertensive nephrosclerosis."

In the AASK patients, several MYH9 gene variants were related to the risk of decreased kidney function or ESRD. Participants with one MYH9 variant were likely to have other variants as well.

The same MYH9 gene variant previously linked to nondiabetic ESRD was also associated with an increased risk of progressive kidney disease in the AASK p
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Contact: Shari Leventhal
sleventhal@asn-online.org
202-416-0658
American Society of Nephrology
Source:Eurekalert

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