Monday, November 06, 2006

Genes vs. environment in Afican American kidney function

Unfortunately, I don't have access to the full text, but this looks like an interesting study that attempts to disentangle the effects of genes and environment on physiology. Here, they seem to find that socioeconomic status plays a stronger role than genetics (as determined through genetic ancestry).

African Ancestry, Socioeconomic Status, and Kidney Function in Elderly African Americans: A Genetic Admixture Analysis.
Peralta CA, Ziv E, Katz R, Reiner A, Burchard EG, Fried L, Kwok PY, Psaty B, Shlipak M.

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006 Nov 2; [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract: Kidney disease is a major public health problem in the United States that affects African Americans disproportionately. The relative contribution of environmental and genetic factors to the increased burden of kidney disease among African Americans is unknown. The associations of genetic African ancestry and socioeconomic status with kidney function were studied cross-sectionally and longitudinally among 736 community-dwelling African Americans who were aged >65 yr and participating in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Genetic African ancestry was determined by genotyping 24 biallelic ancestry-informative markers and combining this information statistically to generate an estimate of ancestry for each individual. Kidney function was evaluated by cystatin C and estimated GFR (eGFR) using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation. Longitudinal changes in serum creatinine and eGFR were estimated using baseline and follow-up values. In cross-sectional analyses, there was no association between genetic African ancestry and either measure of kidney function (P = 0.36 for cystatin C and 0.68 for eGFR). African ancestry was not associated with change in serum creatinine >/=0.05 mg/dl per yr (odds ratio [OR] 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83 to 1.06) or with change in eGFR >/=3 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) per yr (OR 1.02; 95% CI 0.92 to 1.13). In contrast, self reported African-American race was strongly associated with increased risk for kidney disease progression compared with white individuals for change in creatinine (OR 1.77; 95% CI 1.33 to 2.36) and for change in eGFR (OR 3.21; 95% CI 2.54 to 4.06). Among self-identified African Americans, low income (<$8000/yr) was strongly associated with prevalent kidney dysfunction by cystatin C >1.29 g/dl (adjusted OR 2.7; 95% CI 1.0 to 7.5) or by eGFR <60>$35,000/yr. Alleles that are known to be present more frequently in the African ancestral group were not associated with kidney dysfunction or kidney disease progression. Rather, kidney dysfunction in elderly African Americans seems more attributable to differences in environmental and social factors.

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