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

atients. The risk of death, ESRD, or a significant drop in kidney function was 50 percent higher than in those without the variant gene.

The variant MYH9 gene was very common, present in 55 percent of the AASK study participants. Its association with progressive kidney disease was independent of age, sex, or treatment for high blood pressure. The same variants are present in many African Americans without kidney disease, however.

The results add new evidence linking MYH9 variants to racial differences in kidney disease rates and outcomes. "Associations between specific genetic variations and outcomes can help us understand the pathophysiologic processes involved in progressive kidney disease and may lead to areas of research to slow or prevent progressive kidney disease," says Astor.

Meanwhile, newer studies raise questions about the significance of the MYH9 variants.* Those studies suggest that a neighboring gene, called APOL1, may actually be the causal gene for non-diabetic ESRD/CKD in African Americans. MYH9 may simply be a marker of the causal gene. Further studies are needed to dissect the contribution of APOL1 and MYH9 in CKD in African Americans and to determine the utility of the APOL1/MYH9 locus in diagnosis and patient management.

Astor points out that the AASK study, designed to test different blood pressure medications and blood pressure goals, had strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. "The results in this study may not be generalizable to other populations," he notes.


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Contact: Shari Leventhal
sleventhal@asn-online.org
202-416-0658
American Society of Nephrology
Source:Eurekalert

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