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Newly found gene variants account for kidney diseases among African-Americans
Date:9/14/2008

For the first time, researchers have identified variations in a single gene that are strongly associated with kidney diseases disproportionately affecting African-Americans. This work was conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by NIH-funded investigators at the Johns Hopkins University. The findings are published online today in two papers in Nature Genetics and will be published in the October print issue.

"These two breakthrough genomic studies on kidney disease illustrate the importance of collaborations between scientists at NIH and NIH-funded investigators at Johns Hopkins," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "This type of government-academic collaboration moves translational research forward and provides the knowledge base for developing new therapies for these chronic health disorders."

The researchers studied nondiabetic kidney diseases that can lead to chronic kidney disease and, in severe cases, to kidney failure requiring long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant. One of these diseases, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), is a kidney disease that leads to kidney failure in more than half of those with the disease over a period of about 10 years. Chronic kidney disease is caused by many different diseases and conditions and affects 26 million Americans. More than 106,000 individuals develop kidney failure and more than 485,000 receive dialysis or transplantation in the United States each year.

Using a type of genome association that relies on differences in the frequency of gene variants between populations, the NIH researchers identified several variations in the MYH9 gene as major contributors to excess risk of kidney disease among African-Americans. The NIH researchers shared their discovery with the Johns Hopkins scientists, who replicated the findings in participants from earlier studies of kidney disease.

Both research teams found statistically significan
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Contact: Arthur Stone
niddkmedia@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3583
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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