Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Session Type: ACR Poster Session A
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) risk variants (RV), G1 and G2, associate with CKD in African Americans (AA) and are evolutionarily preserved due to improved infectious resistance. Interferons (IFN) in SLE, have been shown to increase APOL1 expression and RV toxicity in endothelial cells and podocytes. Though RV homozygotes with SLE nephritis demonstrate advanced renal progression, associations with renal histopathologies have not been validated in SLE.
Methods: Herein, this cohort study tested the hypothesis that RV homozygosity (RV/RV) associates with specific clinical and biopsy features compared to reference allele (G0) homozygosity (G0/G0) or RV heterozygosity (RV/G0). Whole blood DNA for genotyping, kidney biopsy slides, and clinical reports from 77 AA SLE patients with biopsy-proven nephritis reviewed for: biopsy class, activity index (AI), chronicity index (CI) and clinical features across APOL1 genotype. RV-attributed mitochondrial morphology, was assessed on electron microscopy (EM) images. Analysis was confirmed by two blinded pathologists. As proof of concept, primary endothelial cells across genotype were given IFN to over-express APOL1, and features on EM were compared.
Results: The G0/G0, RV/G0, and RV/RV groups comprised 35%, 52%, and 12% of the cohort. There were no genotype differences in SLE history or demographics. Compared to G0/G0, and RV/G0 groups, the RV/RV had higher urine protein to creatinine ratios (uPCR) and creatinine (Cr) at biopsy (mean uPCR: 2.5; 2.7; 4.3 mg/L p=0.06 and Cr: 1.3; 1.03; 2.3 mg/dL p=0.01 respectively). Adjusting for dsDNA, AI, CI, and percent sclerotic glomeruli, the RVs independently associated with proteinuria at biopsy (OR=2.1, p=0.05). Paradoxically, the G0/G0 and RV/G0 vs the RV/RV group displayed higher AI and CI with a trend toward higher dsDNAs at biopsy (G0/G0 or RV/G0: AI: 5.3/24; CI: 2.6/12 dsDNA: 447 vs RV/RV: AI: 1.2/24; CI: 1.3/12; dsDNA: 69, p=AI: 0.004; CI: 0.01; dsDNA: 0.1). In 30% of the RV/RV cases, the reading pathologist commented that clinical severity was out of proportion to the biopsy lesion. The RV associated with ESRD in 7.9%, 3.9%, and 20% of the G0/G0, RV/G0, and RV/RV cases (OR: 5.7; p=0.03). On EM, RVs associated with mitochondrial condensation (mitochondrial area: G0/G0: 0.17; RV/G0: 0.09; RV/RV: 0.06 μm2; p<0.01); this result was recapitulated in our cell culture model. IFN-treated endothelial cells increased APOL1 expression 18 fold across genotypes (p<0.01). Compared to G0/G0 and RV/G0 cells, RV/RV cells had mitochondrial areas: G0/G0: 0.08; RV/G0: 0.07; RV/RV: 0.04 μm2; (p<0.01).
Conclusion: In this SLE cohort, APOL1 RVs associated with poorer prognosticators, initial proteinuria and creatinine, and ultimately progressive nephritis. These features were paradoxically out of proportion to the SLE lesion on biopsy. The literature supports RV-conferred podocyte and endothelial cell mitochondrial defects owing to a mitophagy deficiency. As evidenced by EM images from both SLE patient biopsies and primary cell cultures, these genes may conferrer intrinsic renal pathology. Consequently, traditional scoring of histopathologic severity may underestimate injury that associates with RV alleles.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Blazer A, Wu M, Schmidt N, Engelbrecht A, Liang FX, Clancy RM, Buyon JP, Belmont HM. Apolipoprotein L1 Risk Variants, Renal Histopathology, and Prognosis in African American SLE Nephritis Patients: A Cohort Study [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018; 70 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/apolipoprotein-l1-risk-variants-renal-histopathology-and-prognosis-in-african-american-sle-nephritis-patients-a-cohort-study/. Accessed April 8, 2020.
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