Berger's Disease in the Genes

Genetic variations associated with kidney disease, or IgA nephropathy

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Until now, the cause of Berger's disease was poorly understood. Researchers have found the parts of human DNA that places a greater risk of developing this kidney disorder.

Berger's disease - also called IgA nephropathy - is a major cause of kidney failure around the world. In a recent study, researchers found five regions in the human genome that increase a person's risk of developing Berger's disease.

"Gentic variations indicate your potential for Berger's disease."

For their study, Dr. Ali Gharavi, from Colombia University in New York, and colleagues looked at the genes of more than 3,000 people of Chinese and European ancestry. All of the study's participants had Berger's disease.

The researchers found that the prevalence of certain genetic variations matched the prevalence of Berger's disease in Asians, Europeans, and Africans. This suggests that the genetic variations play a role in the development of the disease.

According to Dr. Rebekah Rasooly, a scientist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "Genetics are helpful if they tell you a story about the biology of disease.

Here, we're seeing a story unfold about the precise immune basis of IgA nephropathy, which also appears to be genetically associated with other rare kidney diseases — connections that were previously unsuspected.

"The beauty," she adds, "is that nobody had been looking in this direction, and now they are."

While this discovery does not help doctors determine an individual's risk of the disease, it does provide a jumping off point for more research.

According to Dr. Marva Moxey-Mims, a pediatric kidney specialist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this study's findings will hopefully lead to more accurate and less invasive ways of diagnosing Berger's disease.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 6, 2011
Last Updated:
April 8, 2011