The effects of nephropathy risk variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) on renal histopathology in African Americans with arterionephrosclerosis or putative 'hypertension-associated' nephropathy are unknown. APOL1 genotype-phenotype correlations were performed in a blinded manner from renal biopsies in 196 self-reported African Americans with arterionephrosclerosis on kidney biopsy at a large national nephropathology practice. Subjects had chronic kidney disease without nephrotic syndrome. A discovery analysis compared histopathologic changes in the glomerular and tubulointerstitial compartments in 58 subjects with 2 versus 56 subjects with 0 APOL1 risk variants. Validation was performed in biopsies from 82 additional subjects with 0, 1, and 2 risk variants. Two risk variant versus zero risk variant group genotype associations and subphenotypes were assessed by χ(2) analyses. ANOVA compared means of continuous variables. In discovery analyses, significantly less obsolescent glomerulosclerosis, more (solidified and disappearing) glomerulosclerosis, more thyroidization-type tubular atrophy, and more microcystic tubular dilatation were seen in patients with two versus zero APOL1 risk alleles. Greater degrees of arteriosclerosis were present in those with zero risk alleles. Segmental glomerulosclerosis did not differ significantly between groups. Presence of two of the following discriminatory histopathologic findings from discovery, that is, <50% obsolescent glomerulosclerosis, thyroidization-type tubular atrophy, and microcystic tubular dilatation, was specific for the presence of two APOL1 risk alleles in the validation phase. African Americans with arterionephrosclerosis who possess two APOL1 risk variants more often lack obsolescent glomerulosclerosis and have greater degrees of (solidified and disappearing) glomerulosclerosis, thyroidization-type tubular atrophy, and microcystic tubular dilation than patients with fewer than two risk variants. These findings support involvement of multiple cell types in subnephrotic forms of APOL1-associated nephropathy, particularly renal tubule cells with resultant tubulointerstitial disease.