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Gene Variants In Organ Donors Associated With Shorter Survival Of Transplanted Kidneys

Update Date: Nov 14, 2014 02:30 PM EST

Transplanted kidneys may stop functioning long-term if they come from donors with variants in a particular gene, according to a new study. 

The study found that risk variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) in African American deceased kidney donors were linked with shorter survival of transplanted kidneys. 

The APOL1 gene creates a protein that is a component of HDL, or good cholesterol. Variation in the APOL1 gene is associated with up to 40% of all kidney disease in African Americans who undergo dialysis or kidney transplantation, and APOL1 kidney risk variants are present only on the chromosomes of individuals who possess recent African ancestry, the press release added.

A team of researchers looked for the potential link between APOL1 risk variants and shorter survival of transplanted kidneys in a larger group of patients. 

Results from the study confirmed that 2 APOL1 gene variants in donor kidneys were associated with more than a 2-fold increased risk of organ failure after transplantation, the press release added.

"These results warrant consideration of rapidly genotyping deceased African American kidney donors for APOL1 risk variants at the time of organ recovery," said Barry Freedman (Wake Forest School of Medicine), in the press release. "APOL1 genotype data should be incorporated in the organ allocation and informed-consent processes."

The study will be presented at the ASN Kidney Week 2014 November 11-16 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.

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