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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2014 Apr;29(4):864-72. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gft537. Epub 2014 Feb 9.

DNA methylation profile associated with rapid decline in kidney function: findings from the CRIC study.

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Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA.



Epigenetic mechanisms may be important in the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD).


We studied the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern associated with rapid loss of kidney function using the Infinium HumanMethylation 450 K BeadChip in 40 Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRIC) study participants (n = 3939) with the highest and lowest rates of decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate.


The mean eGFR slope was 2.2 (1.4) and -5.1 (1.2) mL/min/1.73 m(2) in the stable kidney function group and the rapid progression group, respectively. CpG islands in NPHP4, IQSEC1 and TCF3 were hypermethylated to a larger extent in subjects with stable kidney function (P-values of 7.8E-05 to 9.5E-05). These genes are involved in pathways known to promote the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and renal fibrosis. Other CKD-related genes that were differentially methylated are NOS3, NFKBIL2, CLU, NFKBIB, TGFB3 and TGFBI, which are involved in oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways (P-values of 4.5E-03 to 0.046). Pathway analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis showed that gene networks related to cell signaling, carbohydrate metabolism and human behavior are epigenetically regulated in CKD.


Epigenetic modifications may be important in determining the rate of loss of kidney function in patients with established CKD.


DNA methylation; chronic renal disease; chronic renal disease progression; epigenetics

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