Kidney and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Genes Aren’t the Same

For the most part, gene variants associated with kidney disease and cardiovascular disease are different from one another, according to a report in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

Two targeted single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses were performed by the use of data from many thousands of participants enrolled in six different disease consortia. The first analysis looked for associations between 19 SNPs known to be associated with kidney function and a series of vascular phenotypes. The second analysis sought associations of 64 validated vascular SNPs with markers of kidney damage.

One kidney disease–related SNP—rs653178 near the SH2B adaptor protein 3 gene (SH2B3)—was also associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure and coronary artery disease, as previously reported. Otherwise, the kidney disease variants were not significantly associated with vascular phenotypes, with nonsignificant results in 127 out of 133 tests.

Likewise, most SNPs associated with vascular phenotypes were unrelated to kidney phenotypes, with nonsignificant results in 187 out of 192 tests. The only exceptions were two highly correlated SNPs at the SH2B3 locus.

Given the strong associations between chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, a shared genetic basis is possible. But the new study finds little overlap among the gene variants associated with kidney disease versus cardiovascular disease, with the notable exception of the SH2B3 locus. Rather than a genetic explanation, the associations between kidney and cardiovascular disease may reflect “a function of the disease milieu itself,” the researchers write [Olden M, et al. Overlap between common genetic polymorphisms underpinning kidney traits and cardiovascular disease phenotypes: The CKDGen Consortium. Am J Kidney Dis 2013; 61:889–898].

July 2013 (Vol. 5, Number 7)