Genetic polymorphisms of the RAS-cytokine pathway and chronic kidney disease. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in children is irreversible. It is associated with renal failure progression and atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) abnormalities. Nearly 60% of children with CKD are affected since birth with congenital or inherited kidney disorders. Preliminary evidence primarily from adult CKD studies indicates common genetic risk factors for CKD and atherosclerotic CV disease. Although multiple physiologic pathways share common genes for CKD and CV disease, substantial evidence supports our attention to the renin angiotensin system (RAS) and the interlinked inflammatory cascade because they modulate the progressions of renal and CV disease. Gene polymorphisms in the RAS-cytokine pathway, through altered gene expression of inflammatory cytokines, are potential factors that modulate the rate of CKD progression and CV abnormalities in patients with CKD. For studying such hypotheses, the cooperative efforts among scientific groups and the availability of robust and affordable technologies to genotype thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the genome make genome-wide association studies an attractive paradigm for studying polygenic diseases such as CKD. Although attractive, such studies should be interpreted carefully, with a fundamental understanding of their potential weaknesses. Nevertheless, whole-genome association studies for diabetic nephropathy and future studies pertaining to other types of CKD will offer further insight for the development of targeted interventions to treat CKD and associated atherosclerotic CV abnormalities in the pediatric CKD population.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008