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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013, Article ID 687519, 9 pages
Research Article

Epigenetic Markers of Renal Function in African Americans

1Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, No. 4629, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
3Center for Health Statistics, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, WA 98501, USA
4School of Nursing, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06477, USA
5Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

Received 1 September 2013; Accepted 27 October 2013

Academic Editor: Ida J. Spruill

Copyright © 2013 Samantha M. Bomotti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing concern in the United States due to its rapidly rising prevalence, particularly among African Americans. Epigenetic DNA methylation markers are becoming important biomarkers of chronic diseases such as CKD. To better understand how these methylation markers play a role in kidney function, we measured 26,428 DNA methylation sites in 972 African Americans from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study. We then evaluated (1) whether epigenetic markers are associated with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), (2) whether the significantly associated markers are also associated with traditional risk factors and/or novel biomarkers for eGFR, and (3) how much additional variation in eGFR is explained by epigenetic markers beyond established risk factors and biomarkers. The majority of methylation markers most significantly associated with eGFR (24 out of the top 30) appeared to function, at least in part, through pathways related to aging, inflammation, or cholesterol. However, six epigenetic markers were still able to significantly predict eGFR after adjustment for other risk factors. This work shows that epigenetic markers may offer valuable new insight into the complex pathophysiology of CKD in African Americans.