Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

NIH Gene Hastens Kidney Disease Progression in African-Americans

Published: Monday, November 18, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013
Bookmark and Share
People with high-risk gene tend to lose kidney function at twice the rate of those without the gene.

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 at (, which will appear in the Dec. 5, 2013 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.

"We now know that the APOL1 gene variant is independently associated with a more aggressive course of disease. This finding tells us that different treatment strategies should be studied, so that we may one day delay or prevent kidney failure among people with this genetic risk," said Paul Kimmel, M.D., director of the Kidney Translational Genetics Program at the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

"Now that the importance of the gene is known, clinicians could potentially genotype - or map the genes - of African-Americans with CKD to assess their risk for disease progression," said Afshin Parsa, M.D., a nephrologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and a CRIC Study investigator. "This discovery provides direct evidence that African-Americans with established CKD and the APOL1 risk gene variant experience a faster decline in kidney function compared to their white counterparts, irrespective in most cases of what caused their kidney disease."

Parsa and Linda Kao, Ph.D., a geneticist from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and the AASK Study Group, co-led the research.

The discovery builds on landmark 2008 research by NIH kidney specialist Dr. Jeffrey Kopp and others, led by Dr. Martin Pollak at The Laboratory of Inherited Kidney Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, which found the APOL1 gene variant to be a risk factor for kidney disease that wasn't associated with diabetes.

An estimated 20 million or more American adults have CKD, and over 400,000 people in the United States and 2 million worldwide depend on dialysis to treat kidney failure. Although exceedingly rare in white people, the APOL1 gene variant is found in 13 to15 percent of African-Americans.

Some have speculated that it evolved to protect against one of the two forms of African sleeping sickness, a lethal parasitic disease transmitted by the tsetse fly.

The CRIC study ( is one of the largest and longest ongoing studies of CKD epidemiology in the United States ( number: NCT00304148 ( It is supported under NIH grants U01DK060990, U01 DK60980, U01 DK60902, U01 DK61021, U01 DK61022, U01 DK60963, U01 DK61028 and U01 DK60984. CRIC recently embarked on an expansion to add more than 1,500 patients over the next five years, increasing the study's total size to approximately 5,500.

AASK is the largest and longest completed study of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in African-Americans. Beginning as a randomized clinical trial in 1995, the investigation was completed in 2007 as a cohort study.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Structure of Primary Cannabinoid Receptor is Revealed
The findings provide key insights into how natural and synthetic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol —a primary chemical in marijuana—bind at the CB1 receptor to produce their effects.
Friday, October 21, 2016
NIH Study Determines Key Differences between Allergic and Non-Allergic Dust Mite Proteins
Researchers at NIH have uncovered factors that lead to the development of dust mite allergy and assist in the design of better allergy therapies.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
NIH Contributes to Global Effort to Prevent and Manage Lung Diseases
The large scale trial will measure health benefits of clean cookstoves.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Untangling Cause Of Memory Loss In Neurodegenerative Diseases
NIH-funded mouse study identifies a possible therapeutic target for a family of disorders.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
NIH Scientists Uncover Genetic Explanation for Frustrating Syndrome
Researchers at NIH have suggested that the multiple alpha tryptase gene copies might underlie health issues that affect a substantial number of people.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Scientists at NIH and Emory Achieve Sustained SIV Remission in Monkeys
The finding suggest that the immune systems of these animals are controlling SIV replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Untangling a Cause of Memory Loss in Neurodegenerative Diseases
The mouse study identifies a possible therapeutic target for a family of disorders.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Visual Cortex Plays Role in Plasticity of Eye Movement Reflex
Researchers at NIH have found that the visual cortex region of the brain known to process sensory information plays a vital role in promoting the plasticity of innate, spontaneous eye movements.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
NIH Commits $6.7 M to Advance DNA, RNA Sequencing Technology
"Can you believe they make DNA sequencers the size of staplers?" asked Meni Wanunu, Ph.D. "Ideas that were crazy twenty years ago are now happening!"
Friday, October 07, 2016
Cone Snail Venom Reveals Insulin Insights
Researchers found that a fast-acting insulin from the cone snail can bind and activate the human insulin receptor.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
DNA Vaccines Protect Monkeys Against Zika Virus
Two experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines developed by NIH scientists protected monkeys against Zika infection.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Targeting Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors May be Important Across a Lifetime
The study suggests efforts to prevent risk factors should extend to those older than 65.
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Researchers Find a Gap in the Brain’s Firewall Against Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at NIH have found mouse study that identified a key player in the progression of the disorder.
Saturday, October 01, 2016
Drug to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder Shows Promise Among Drinkers With High Stress
The findings suggest that potential future studies with drugs targeting vasopressin blockade should focus on populations of people with AUD who also report high levels of stress.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Monkeys Protected by Zika DNA Vaccine
Experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines successfully protected monkeys against Zika infection.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Scientific News
Integrated Omics Analysis
Studying multi-omics promises to give a more holistic picture of the organism and its place in its ecosystem, however despite the complexities involved those within the field are optimistic.
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Salford Lung Study - The First Real World Clinical Trial
In this podcast, we learn about the Salford Lung Study and its potential to revolutionize the way we assess new drugs and treatments around the world.
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Zika Virus Infection Alters Human and Viral RNA
Researchers have discovered that Zika infections results in human and viral genetic modification.
Mapping Serotonin in the Living Brain
Imaging technique that creates a 3D video of serotonin transport could aid antidepressant development.
RNA-Binding Proteins Role in ALS Revealed
Researchers describe how damage to RNA-binding protein contributes to ALS, isolating a possible therapeutic target.
MRIs for Fetal Health
Algorithm could help analyze fetal scans to determine whether interventions are warranted.
Illumina Contributes to ClinVar Database
The contribution includes variants of all classifications, from pathogenic to benign, identified during interpretation of whole genome sequences generated in the CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited Illumina Clinical Services Laboratory.
Structure of Primary Cannabinoid Receptor is Revealed
The findings provide key insights into how natural and synthetic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol —a primary chemical in marijuana—bind at the CB1 receptor to produce their effects.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos