Acute kidney injury affects 1 in 5 hospitalized patients worldwide

Researchers have identified several genetic markers that could help identify individuals at risk for developing acute kidney injury in the hospital setting, according to new research presented at ASN Kidney Week 2014. Using new genetic analysis techniques, scientists pinpointed several markers associated with AKI—an increasingly prevalent surgical and hospital complication.

Collaborators from Yale University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Western Ontario wanted to determine if they could identify patients who may have a higher genetic risk for develop AKI in the hospital. “This may uncover novel pathways to target for therapeutic interventions,” said senior author Chirag R. Parikh, MD, PhD, FASN of Yale.

Until recently, analysis methods limited the scope of genetic AKI studies. “But technological progress in genotyping has opened the possibilities towards hypothesis-generating genomic screens and novel opportunities to explore polygenetic perspectives, now spanning a wide array of possible analyses falling under the term Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS),” said Parikh.

Using GWAS methods, the investigators analyzed data from patients at risk for AKI in the hospital setting—760 adults with AKI and 669 controls who underwent surgery or received care in the ICU—to determine if any single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were linked to AKI development. They identified six clusters of three or more SNPs on six different chromosomes that are associated with a patient’s risk of developing AKI.

“AKI is heterogenous disease and genetic studies need to be continued to fully capture the host risk,” Parikh emphasized. “It is recommended that sequencing can be used as a complement to GWAS, to obtain a better map of the genetic variants in GWAS-significant genes or well-established candidate genes.”

Study: “A Genome-Wide Association Study to Identify Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Conferring Risk for Acute Kidney Injury” (Abstract TH-OR028)