Background: Uteroglobin is a multifunctional protein and both its gene knockout and antisense transgenic mouse models develop the pathological and clinical features of IgA nephropathy. A genetic polymorphism in uteroglobin has been reported to be associated with progression of IgA nephropathy in a Caucasian population, but the findings remain controversial.
Methods: Genomic DNA was isolated from 595 individuals including 239 patients with IgAN, 160 patients with glomerulonephritis distinct from IgAN, and 196 healthy controls. The uteroglobin G38A genotype was determined by PCR-RFLP with Sau96I. To examine the possible association of uteroglobin gene polymorphism in the patients with and without IgAN, the uteroglobin genotype and allele frequency were compared between the two groups. In addition, associations between the polymorphism and blood pressure, proteinuria and prognosis of renal function were analyzed in the patients with IgAN to investigate the role of this gene polymorphism in the risk of progressive renal dysfunction in IgAN patients.
Results: The Cox proportional hazard regression model revealed that hypertension and proteinuria at the time of renal biopsy were independent risk factors for poor renal survival. Uteroglobin genotype was not significantly associated with the renal survival rate. However, in the patients with heavy proteinuria (more than 2 g/day) or in those with hypertension at the time of renal biopsy, the renal survival of patients with the GG genotype was significantly worse than the other genotypes.
Conclusion: Uteroglobin GG genotype may be a genetic marker for rapid disease progression to end-stage renal failure, especially in the IgAN patients with heavy proteinuria or high blood pressure.