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

e leading causes of kidney failure, both research teams found no association between the MYH9 variants and diabetes-related kidney failure in African-Americans. "This finding suggests that the mechanisms leading from onset of chronic kidney disease to kidney failure may differ based on the inciting cause," said W.H. Linda Kao, M.H.S., Ph.D., and Rulan S. Parekh, M.D., M.S., the lead and senior authors of the Hopkins study. "Therefore, understanding the role that MYH9 plays in kidney failure may ultimately lead to development of drug therapies that target more specific, rather than common, genetic pathways to prevent kidney disease progression more effectively."

"These two studies are important not only because the MYH9 risk variants account for nearly all the excess burden of FSGS and HIV-associated kidney disease in African-Americans, but also because MYH9 is the first kidney disease gene identified that explains an important health disparity and involves common forms of kidney disease," said Cheryl Winkler, Ph.D., principal scientist with the National Cancer Institute, senior author of the NIH intramural study, and a co-author of the Johns Hopkins study. "In addition, the MYH9 gene's estimated relative risk is higher than that observed for nearly all genetic factors discovered by genome-wide scans, including those for prostate cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and hypertension."

The different frequencies of genetic variants between African Americans and European Americans have potential implications for future screening strategies for African-Americans with hypertension. It remains unclear whether hypertension is particularly likely to damage the kidney in individuals with these MYH9 variants, and further research will be needed to determine whether individuals identified as having hypertensive kidney disease actually have undiagnosed FSGS.

The variants found in these studies are markers indicating that the MYH9 g
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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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