Kidney Disease

The dark side of protective genes

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Science  07 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6210, pp. 713-714
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6210.713-h

Aberrant antibody deposits in the kidney characterize immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN), a disease most prevalent in East Asians. Kiryluk et al. studied the underlying genetics of IgAN and found that variants of genes with roles in maintaining the intestinal epithelial barrier or in the immune response to mucosal pathogens conferred an elevated risk of IgAN. People living in areas with the greatest diversity of helminthes showed the highest genetic risk for developing IgAN. This intriguing correlation suggests that the high incidence of IgAN in certain regions might be a consequence of protective adaptation to mucosal pathogens.

Nat. Genet. 10.1038/ng.3118 (2014).

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