Plasma biomarkers are associated with renal outcomes in individuals with APOL1 risk variants

Kidney Int. 2018 Jun;93(6):1409-1416. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2018.01.026. Epub 2018 Apr 25.


G1/G2 variants in the Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene are associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in people with African ancestry. Plasma biomarkers may have utility for risk stratification in APOL1 high-risk individuals of African ancestry. To evaluate this, we measured tumor necrosis factor receptor 1/2 (TNFR1/2) and kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM1) in baseline plasma specimens from individuals of African ancestry with high-risk APOL1 genotype. Biomarker association with a composite renal outcome of ESRD or 40% sustained decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was then determined and then assessed as improvement in area under curve. Among the 498 participants, the median age was 56 years, 67.7% were female, and the baseline eGFR was 83.3 ml/min/1.73 m2 with 80 reaching outcome over 5.9 years. TNFR1, TNFR2, and KIM1 at enrollment were independently associated with renal outcome continuously (adjusted hazard ratio 2.0 [95% confidence interval 1.3-3.1]; 1.5 [1.2-1.9]; and 1.6 [1.3-1.9] per doubling in levels, respectively) or by tertiles. The area under the curve significantly improved from 0.75 with the clinical model to 0.79 with the biomarker-enhanced model. The event rate was 40% with all 3 biomarkers elevated (adjusted odds ratio of 5.3 (2.3-12.0) vs. 17% (adjusted odds ratio 1.8 [0.9-3.6] with 1 or 2 elevated and 7% with no biomarkers elevated. Thus, plasma concentrations of TNFR1, TNFR2, and KIM1 are independently associated with renal outcome and improve discrimination or reclassification of African ancestry individuals with a high-risk APOL1 genotype and preserve renal function. Elevation of all markers had higher risk of outcome and can assist with better clinical prediction and improved clinical trial efficiency by enriching event rates.

Keywords: APOL1; biomarkers; chronic kidney disease; inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / genetics*
  • Aged
  • Apolipoprotein L1 / genetics*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / genetics*
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1 / blood*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / ethnology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / genetics*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / blood*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type II / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • APOL1 protein, human
  • Apolipoprotein L1
  • HAVCR1 protein, human
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type II
  • TNFRSF1A protein, human
  • TNFRSF1B protein, human