Genetics make people with type 1 prone to kidney disease

Researchers in the US have begun to look at the genetics which may leave some people prone to kidney disease if they have type 1 diabetes, regardless of their blood glucose control.

Many people living with type 1 diabetes develop kidney disease despite adequate blood glucose control, while others maintain normal kidney function despite long-term high blood glucose levels.

Previous studies have shown that diabetic kidney disease (DKD) has a heritable component, but little is known about the genes involved.

To identify genetic variants that predispose people to DKD, Dr Jose C. Florez, from Massachusetts General Hospital, and a team of researchers have undertaken an analysis of the genome of 19,406 individuals of European descent with type 1 diabetes, who are also living with or without kidney disease.

The researchers identified 16 novel gene regions linked to DKD, and they provided supportive biological data related to this link for some of them. For example, the team uncovered a variant at COL4A3, a gene that encodes a collagen protein that is important to kidney health.

Dr Florez said “This study represents a substantial advance in the genetics of DKD. The 16 DKD-associated regions provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of DKD, identifying potential biological targets for prevention and treatment.”

The study lays the groundwork for further research on one of the high risk complications for people living with diabetes.

The finding of this study are due to be published in the upcoming Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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