Kidney Risk With Lupus

Lupus patients of Native American ancestry may have higher risk of kidney involvement

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) One of the major complications of lupus is kidney damage. While all patients with lupus have a risk of kidney damage, some patients have a higher risk than others - and ancestry might have something to do with it.

A recent study found lupus patients of Native American ancestry may have a higher risk of kidney damage than patients of other backgrounds.

Fortunately, Native American ancestry may also protect against other complications of lupus.

"Seek treatment if you have lupus."

Marta E. Alarcón-Riquelme, MD, PhD, of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Pfizer-Universidad de Granada-Junta de Andalucía in Spain, and colleagues set out to study how ancestry might affect the risk of certain features of lupus.

In their study, the researchers found lupus patients of Native American ancestry were 3.5 times more likely to have kidney involvement than those of other backgrounds.

Native American ancestry was linked also to developing lupus at an earlier age.

Even though Native American ancestry was linked to higher risks of some complications, the genetic background was linked to lower risks of other complications such as:

  • photosensitivity, or being overly sensitive to light (odds ratio 0.58)
  • oral ulcers, or sores in the mouth (odds ratio 0.55)
  • serositis, or inflammation of the tissues lining the lungs (odds ratio 0.56)

An odds ratio explains the odds of an event happening to one group versus the odds of that event in another group. An odds ratio of less than 1.0 means the event is less likely in that group.

In addition, results showed that lupus patients' age and sex had stronger effects than ancestry on the risk of:

  • malar rash, or a type of rash on the face (also called butterfly rash)
  • discoid rash
  • arthritis
  • neurologic involvement, or lupus that affects the nervous system

The research was funded by the Alliance for Lupus Research, Kirkland Scholar Award, Federico Wilhelm Agricola Foundation, National Center for Research Resources and Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) among others.

The study was published October 27 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 30, 2012
Last Updated:
November 5, 2012