Genetic variant linked with kidney failure in diabetic women but not men

A genetic variant on chromosome 2 is strongly linked with kidney failure in diabetic women but not in men, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings may help explain gender-specific differences in kidney failure, as well as why some diabetic women are prone to develop kidney failure.

Worldwide, more than 370 million people have diabetes, which is the leading cause of kidney failure, or end stage . Within the non-diabetic population, women are relatively protected from kidney failure until menopause, but this protection is reduced in diabetic women.

Niina Sandholm, MSc, Per-Henrik Groop, MD, DMSc (Helsinki University Central Hospital and Folkhälsan Research Center, in Finland) and their colleagues designed a study to detect genetic variants that might predispose diabetic women to kidney failure. Their initial study included 3652 Finnish patients with .

The researchers identified a genetic variant on chromosome 2 that was linked with kidney failure in women with type 1 diabetes but not in men. Additional analyses revealed that it was also linked with kidney failure in diabetic women in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy. Diabetic women with the risk variant had a nearly two-fold increased risk of developing kidney failure compared with diabetic women who did not have the risk variant.

"This study reports the first genetic variant robustly associated with end stage renal disease in diabetic women but not in men. This finding may give valuable information on how some diabetic women lose their protection against end stage renal disease," said Sandholm. The genetic variant is located close to a gene for a factor that interacts with the and also helps regulate . It will be interesting to see if this factor plays a role in the gender-specific protection against kidney failure seen in this study.

In an accompanying editorial, Marcus Pezzolesi, PhD and Andrzej Krolewski, MD, PhD (Joslin Diabetes Center) noted that "In identifying evidence of an association with end stage renal disease exclusively in women, this study offers the strongest evidence to date of a sex-specific genetic factor for diabetic nephropathy." They added, however, that the findings need to be verified by additional studies.

More information: The article, entitled "Chromosome 2q31.1 Associates with ESRD in Women with Type 1 Diabetes," will appear online on September 12, 2013, DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2012111122
The editorial, entitled "Diabetic Nephropathy: Is ESRD Its Only Heritable Phenotype?" will appear online on September 12, 2013, DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2013070769

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research aims to prevent diabetic kidney failure

Nov 05, 2011

The enzyme arginase-2 plays a major role in kidney failure, and blocking the action of this enzyme might lead to protection against renal disease in diabetes, according to researchers.

What's your lifetime risk of developing kidney failure?

Aug 16, 2012

How likely are middle-aged adults to develop kidney failure during their lifetime? A study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) provides some insights, which may be used t ...

Recommended for you

Mali announces new Ebola case

19 hours ago

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO

19 hours ago

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

UN chief: Ebola cases in Mali a 'deep concern'

Nov 21, 2014

The United Nations chief warned Friday that Ebola may be easing in part of West Africa but is still hitting hard in other areas and outpacing the international response.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.