Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a syndrome characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function with decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which may be accompanied by an increase in the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR). Although trans-ethnic genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been conducted for kidney-related traits, there have been few analyses in the Japanese population, especially for the UACR trait. In this study, we conducted a GWAS to identify loci related to multiple kidney-related traits in Japanese individuals. First, to detect loci associated with CKD, eGFR, and UACR, we performed separate GWASs with the following two datasets: 475 cases of CKD diagnosed at seven university hospitals and 3471 healthy subjects (dataset 1) and 3664 cases of CKD-suspected individuals with eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 or urinary protein ≥ 1+ and 5952 healthy subjects (dataset 2). Second, we performed a meta-analysis between these two datasets and detected the following associated loci: 10 loci for CKD, 9 loci for eGFR, and 22 loci for UACR. Among the loci detected, 22 have never been reported previously. Half of the significant loci for CKD were shared with those for eGFR, whereas most of the loci associated with UACR were different from those associated with CKD or eGFR. The GWAS of the Japanese population identified novel genetic components that were not previously detected. The results also suggest that the group primarily characterized by increased UACR possessed genetically different features from the group characterized by decreased eGFR.
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