Monday, October 17, 2011
Compared to European Americans, African Americans are four to five times more likely to develop kidney failure
Also, family members of African Americans with kidney failure have an increased risk of developing kidney failure, which suggests that genetics may play a role in this skewed risk between races. Researchers have identified variants in a gene called APOL1 that may play a role. The APOL1 gene creates a protein that is a component of HDL, or good cholesterol. People inherit two copies of the APOL1 gene - one from each parent. If they inherit only one copy with a variant, they are resistant to infections caused by a parasite endemic to Africa. For this reason, the variants are common in individuals with African ancestry. Unfortunately, if both copies of the APOL1 gene contain a variant, an individual has an increased risk of kidney failure.