The Ageing Human Kidney's Genetic Link Identified

by Tanya Thomas on Oct 19 2009 10:53 AM

In a novel study, researchers claim to have identified a gene linked to human kidney aging.

Kidneys age at different rates, such that some people show little or no effects of kidney aging whereas others show rapid functional decline.

Determining genetic factors associated with different rates of kidney aging can help researchers understand the molecular mechanisms underlying human aging process.

Lead researcher Dr. Stuart Kim used genome-wide transcriptional profiling to determine that 630 genes change expression with age in kidney tissue.

They further found that 101 of these age-regulated genes contain DNA variations among individuals that associate with gene expression level. gene that encodes an extracellular matrix protein (MMP20) was revealed to be significantly associated with kidney aging, providing the first gene association with kidney aging.

The researchers suggest that more aging genes are discovered and confirmed, the particular genetic variants belonging to a person could one day be combined to better predict the aging trajectory of the kidney.

The study appears in PLoS Genetics.