New Study Reveals Link Between Sickle-Cell Gene and Chronic Kidney Disease in Black Carriers

A new study has revealed a significant correlation between African Americans with sickle-cell trait (SCT) and their likelihood of having or developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The study, which will appear in JAMA, took a close look at nearly 16,000 African Americans. Out of that population more than 1,200 patients did have SCT while more than 14,000 did not have SCT.

While those with SCT do not have the sickle-cell disease, they are still carriers of the sickle-cell gene.

The difference is that those with SCT only have one gene but two copies of the sickle-cell gene are required for a person to actually develop the disease.

While the study was not able to prove a cause and effect relationship between SCT and CKD, it certainly suggested that there is some sort of connection between the illnesses in African Americans.

Out of the 2,000 subjects who had CKD, roughly 240 of them also had SCT.

Nearly 2,000 subjects who did not carry SCT also had CKD but once the proportions of those with the illness were compared to how many people were in each population, it was revealed that it was much more likely for those with SCT to have CKD.

More than 20 percent of the subjects who were SCT carriers had CKD while less than 14 percent of those who were not carriers were found to have the disease.

The study’s results could have major implications on future research, especially considering SCT’s presence in the Black community.

According to the study, SCT affects one-in-12 people of African descent worldwide. That equates to roughly 300 million people across the globe.

While experts in the medical field have suspected a connection between the two illnesses, the authors of the study said there was not a lot of strong evidence and research to back those beliefs.

They believe this study could finally provide that.

“Our findings show an association of SCT with the development of CKD in African Americans,” the authors of the study, Dr. Rakhi Naik of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Dr. Vimal Derebail of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote.

The authors also hope that the study will offer more genetic explanations for why African Americans are so much more likely to develop kidney diseases than other races.

The study will be presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual Kidney Week meeting.


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