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Nephron Clin Pract. 2013;123(1-2):123-8. doi: 10.1159/000353223. Epub 2013 Jul 13.

High population frequencies of APOL1 risk variants are associated with increased prevalence of non-diabetic chronic kidney disease in the Igbo people from south-eastern Nigeria.

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Renal Unit, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria.



Continental Africa is facing an epidemic of chronic kidney disease (CKD). APOL1 risk variants have been shown to be strongly associated with an increased risk for non-diabetic kidney disease including HIV nephropathy, primary non-monogenic focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, and hypertension-attributed nephropathy among African ancestry populations in the USA. The world's highest frequencies of APOL1 risk alleles have been reported in West African nations, overlapping regions with a high incidence of CKD and hypertension. One such region is south-eastern Nigeria, and therefore we sought to quantify the association of APOL1 risk alleles with CKD in this region.


APOL1 risk variants were genotyped in a case-control sample set consisting of non-diabetic, CKD patients (n = 44) and control individuals (n = 43) from Enugu and Abakaliki, Nigeria.


We found a high frequency of two APOL1 risk alleles in the general population of Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria (23.3%). The two APOL1 risk allele frequency in the CKD patient group was 66%. Logistic regression analysis under a recessive inheritance model showed a strong and significant association of APOL1 two-risk alleles with CKD, yielding an odds ratio of 6.4 (unadjusted p = 1.2E-4); following correction for age, gender, HIV and BMI, the odds ratio was 4.8 (adjusted p = 5.1E-03).


APOL1 risk variants are common in the Igbo population of south-eastern Nigeria, and are also highly associated with non-diabetic CKD in this area. APOL1 may explain the increased prevalence of CKD in this region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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