NDT-EDUCATIONAL

Kidney disease progression hastened in African-Americans by gene variant

A gene variant common in African-Americans predicts that people with that gene who also have chronic kidney disease (CKD) are twice as likely to progress to kidney failure as African-Americans without the high-risk gene and white people with CKD. People with the high-risk gene also tend to lose kidney function at twice the rate of those without the gene, according to the research, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Investigators from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study and the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) published joint results online in the New England Journal of Medicine print issue.

The impact of the gene variant - known as APOL1 - on risk for and rate of CKD progression was consistent in both studies, regardless of whether patients maintained good blood pressure control or had diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are major risk factors for CKD and its progression to kidney failure.

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