What is the role of genetics in the development of diabetic nephropathy?

Updated: Oct 09, 2019
  • Author: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Familial or perhaps even genetic factors also play a role. Certain ethnic groups, particularly African Americans, persons of Hispanic origin, and American Indians, may be particularly disposed to renal disease as a complication of diabetes.

It has been argued that the genetic predisposition to diabetes that is so frequent in Western societies, and even more so in minorities, reflects the fact that in the past, insulin resistance conferred a survival advantage (the so-called thrifty genotype hypothesis).

Some evidence has accrued for a polymorphism in the gene for angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in either predisposing to nephropathy or accelerating its course. However, definitive genetic markers have yet to be identified. More recently, the role of epigenetic modification in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy has been highlighted. [10]

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