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      Renin-Angiotensin System Gene Polymorphisms: Its Impact on IgAN and Its Progression to End-Stage Renal Failure among Chinese in Singapore

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          Background: Gene polymorphisms in angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensinogen (AGT) and angiotensin II type 1 receptor (ATR) had been associated with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) and its progression. Several studies on Caucasian and Japanese had reported contradicting results. We determined these polymorphisms in 118 Chinese patients with IgAN and 94 healthy Chinese to assess their clinical impact. Methods: Genotyping was performed with DNA from peripheral leukocytes, PCR amplification of the polymorphic sequence, restriction enzymes digestion, separation and identification of DNA fragments. Clinical data at renal biopsy and final status on renal function were determined from patients’ records. Results: Among controls, genotype distributions were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Comparing all IgAN patients with controls, AGT and ATR genotype distributions were similar whereas there was significant increase in the ACE DD genotype (p < 0.05). Comparing patients with end-stage renal failure (IgAN-ESRF) and without (IgAN-nonESRF), there was no difference in any of the three gene polymorphisms. But in contrast, there were significant differences in higher male prevalence (p < 0.05), increased serum creatinine at presentation (p < 0.05), more sclerosis (p < 0.01) and higher tubulointerstitial lesion score (p < 0.001) in the IgAN-ESRF group. Conclusion: Among the ACE, AGT and ATR gene polymorphisms, only the DD genotype may predispose the individual to IgAN in our Chinese population. In contrast to clinical and histological risk factors, these genetic variations showed no impact on disease progression to ESRF. It is unlikely that genotyping more patients will prove these genes useful. Nevertheless, preclinically determined genetic markers are very useful as risk factors for disease occurrence and as prognostic indices for disease progression. Therefore, continuing efforts should be made to look at other genes to find those with significance.

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          Sequence variation in the human angiotensin converting enzyme.

          Angiotensin converting enzyme (encoded by the gene DCP1, also known as ACE) catalyses the conversion of angiotensin I to the physiologically active peptide angiotensin II, which controls fluid-electrolyte balance and systemic blood pressure. Because of its key function in the renin-angiotensin system, many association studies have been performed with DCP1. Nearly all studies have associated the presence (insertion, I) or absence (deletion, D) of a 287-bp Alu repeat element in intron 16 with the levels of circulating enzyme or cardiovascular pathophysiologies. Many epidemiological studies suggest that the DCP1*D allele confers increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease; however, other reports have found no such association or even a beneficial effect. We present here the complete genomic sequence of DCP1 from 11 individuals, representing the longest contiguous scan (24 kb) for sequence variation in human DNA. We identified 78 varying sites in 22 chromosomes that resolved into 13 distinct haplotypes. Of the variant sites, 17 were in absolute linkage disequilibrium with the commonly typed Alu insertion/deletion polymorphism, producing two distinct and distantly related clades. We also identified a major subdivision in the Alu deletion clade that enables further analysis of the traits associated with this gene. The diversity uncovered in DCP1 is comparable to that described for other regions in the human genome. The highly correlated structure in DCP1 raises important issues for the determination of functional DNA variants within genes and genetic studies in humans based on marker association.
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            ACEI/ATRA therapy decreases proteinuria by improving glomerular permselectivity in IgA nephritis.

            It has been postulated that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor antagonist (ACEI/ATRA) may decrease proteinuria in patients with glomerulonephritis by its action on the glomerular basement membrane. We therefore studied the relationship between the response of patients with IgA nephritis (IgAN) to ACEI/ATRA therapy by decreasing proteinuria and its effect on the selectivity index (SI) in these patients. Forty-one patients with biopsy-proven IgAN entered a control trial, with 21 in the treatment group and 20 in the control group. The entry criteria included proteinuria of 1 g or more and/or renal impairment. Patients in the treatment group received ACEI/ATRA or both with three monthly increases in dosage. In the control group, hypertension was treated with atenolol, hydrallazine, or methyldopa. The following tests were performed at three monthly intervals: serum creatinine, total urinary protein, SI, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and low molecular weight (LMW) proteinuria. After a mean duration of therapy of 13 +/- 5 months, in the treatment group, there was no significant change in serum creatinine, proteinuria, or SI, but in the control group, serum creatinine deteriorated from 1.8 +/- 0.8 to 2.3 +/- 1.1 mg/dL (P < 0.05). Among the 21 patients in the treatment group, 10 responded to ACEI/ATRA therapy determined as a decrease in proteinuria by 30% (responders), and the other 11 did not respond (nonresponders). Among the responders, SI improved from a mean of 0.26 +/- 0.07 to 0.18 +/- 0. 07 (P < 0.001), indicating a tendency toward selective proteinuria. This was associated with an improvement in serum creatinine from mean 1.7 +/- 0.6 to 1.5 +/- 0.6 mg/dL (P < 0.02) and a decrease in proteinuria from a mean of 2.3 +/- 1.1 to 0.7 +/- 0.5 g/day (P < 0. 001). After treatment, proteinuria in the treatment group (1.8 +/- 1. 6 g/day) was significantly less than in the control group (2.9 +/- 1. 8 g/day, P < 0.05). The post-treatment SI in the responder group (0. 18 +/- 0.07) was better than that of the nonresponder group (0.33 +/- 0.11, P < 0.002). Eight out of 21 patients in the treatment group who had documented renal impairment had improved renal function compared with two in the control group (chi2 = 4.4, P < 0. 05). Of the eight patients in the treatment group who improved their renal function, three normalized their renal function compared with one from the control group. Our data suggest that ACEI/ATRA therapy may be beneficial in patients with IgAN with renal impairment and nonselective proteinuria, as such patients may respond to therapy with improvement in protein selectivity, decrease in proteinuria, and improvement in renal function. ACEI/ATRA therapy probably modifies pore size distribution by reducing the radius of large unselective pores, causing the shunt pathway to become less pronounced, resulting in less leakage of protein into the urine.
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              Polymorphisms in angiotensin-converting-enzyme gene and progression of IgA nephropathy


                Author and article information

                Nephron Physiol
                Nephron Physiology
                S. Karger AG
                May 2004
                24 May 2004
                : 97
                : 1
                : p1-p8
                Departments of aRenal Medicine, bClinical Research and cNeurology, Singapore General Hospital, and dDepartment of Paediatrics, National University Hospital, Singapore
                77596 Nephron Physiol 2004;97:p1–p8
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Tables: 4, References: 43, Pages: 1
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