NDT-EDUCATIONAL

Rapid testing for gene variants in kidney donors may optimize transplant outcomes

Kidney transplantation outcomes from deceased African-American donors may improve through rapid testing for apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) renal risk variants at the time of organ recovery, according to a new study led by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Variation in the APOL1 gene is associated with up to 40 percent of all kidney diseases in African-Americans who undergo dialysis or kidney transplantation, and APOL1 kidney disease risk variants are only present on the chromosomes of individuals who possess recent African ancestry, such as African-Americans, according to the researchers.

The study, published in the American Journal of Transplantation, found that renal risk variants in the APOL1 gene in deceased African-American kidney donors were linked with shorter survival of transplanted kidneys.

"Our findings may assist physicians in decisions on which patients should receive higher-risk-for-failure donor kidneys," said Barry Freedman, M.D., professor of nephrology at Wake Forest Baptist and senior author of the study. "This research again demonstrates that APOL1 high-genetic-risk kidneys failed more quickly after transplantation than did low-risk kidneys without two APOL1 gene renal risk variants."

 

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