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BMJ Open. 2019 May 1;9(4):e026777. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026777.

Genetic associations between genes in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and renal disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

Epidemiology and Public Health Research Group, Queen's University Belfast Centre for Public Health, Belfast, UK.
Regional Nephrology Unit, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, UK.



Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined by abnormalities in kidney structure and/or function present for more than 3 months. Worldwide, both the incidence and prevalence rates of CKD are increasing. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) regulates fluid and electrolyte balance through the kidney. RAAS activation is associated with hypertension, which is directly implicated in causation and progression of CKD. RAAS blockade, using drugs targeting individual RAAS mediators and receptors, has proven to be renoprotective.


To assess genomic variants present within RAAS genes, ACE, ACE2, AGT, AGTR1, AGTR2 and REN, for association with CKD.


A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational research was performed to evaluate the RAAS gene polymorphisms in CKD using both PubMed and Web of Science databases with publication date between the inception of each database and 31 December 2018. Eligible articles included case-control studies of a defined kidney disease and included genotype counts.


Any paper was removed from the analysis if it was not written in English or Spanish, was a non-human study, was a paediatric study, was not a case-control study, did not have a renal disease phenotype, did not include data for the genes, was a gene expression-based study or had a pharmaceutical drug focus.


A total of 3531 studies were identified, 114 of which met the inclusion criteria. Genetic variants reported in at least three independent publications for populations with the same ethnicity were determined and quantitative analyses performed. Three variants returned significant results in populations with different ethnicities at p<0.05: ACE insertion, AGT rs699-T allele and AGTR1 rs5186-A allele; each variant was associated with a reduced risk of CKD development.


Further biological pathway and functional analyses of the RAAS gene polymorphisms will help define how variation in components of the RAAS pathway contributes to CKD.


CKD; RAAS, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system; kidney; meta-analysis

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