Complement factor H gene associations with end-stage kidney disease in African Americans

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Abstract

Background

Mutations in the complement factor H gene (CFH) region associate with renal-limited mesangial proliferative forms of glomerulonephritis including IgA nephropathy (IgAN), dense deposit disease (DDD) and C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN). Lack of kidney biopsies could lead to under diagnosis of CFH-associated end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in African Americans (AAs), with incorrect attribution to other causes. A prior genome-wide association study in AAs with non-diabetic ESKD implicated an intronic CFH single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

Methods

Thirteen CFH SNPs (8 exonic, 2 synonymous, 2 3′UTR, and the previously associated intronic variant rs379489) were tested for association with common forms of non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes-associated (T2D) ESKD in 3770 AAs (1705 with non-diabetic ESKD, 1305 with T2D-ESKD, 760 controls). Most cases lacked kidney biopsies; those with known IgAN, DDD or C3GN were excluded.

Results

Adjusting for age, gender, ancestry and apolipoprotein L1 gene risk variants, single SNP analyses detected 6 CFH SNPs (5 exonic and the intronic variant) as significantly associated with non-diabetic ESKD (P = 0.002-0.01), three of these SNPs were also associated with T2D-ESKD. Weighted CFH locus-wide Sequence Kernel Association Testing (SKAT) in non-diabetic ESKD (P = 0.00053) and T2D-ESKD (P = 0.047) confirmed significant evidence of association.

Conclusions

CFH was associated with commonly reported etiologies of ESKD in the AA population. These results suggest that a subset of cases with ESKD clinically ascribed to the effects of hypertension or glomerulosclerosis actually have CFH-related forms of mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis. Genetic testing may prove useful to identify the causes of renal-limited kidney disease in patients with ESKD who lack renal biopsies.

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