Thursday, January 8, 2015
New research provides insights into the ties between certain genetic variants and kidney disease in African Americans
African Americans have a 4-fold increased risk for chronic kidney disease compared with European Americans. Recent work from several research groups has shown that much of this risk is due to genetic variations in a gene called apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), which creates a protein that is a component of HDL, or good cholesterol. These variants arose tens of thousands of years ago in sub-Saharan Africa, and so are present in individuals who have recent sub-Saharan African ancestry. Approximately 5 million African Americans carry APOL1 risk variants, placing them at increased risk for kidney disease. The investigators found that 72% of self-identified African Americans in the study had APOL1 risk variants.