Apolipoprotein L1 Variants and Blood Pressure Traits in African Americans

Girish N. Nadkarni, Geneviève Galarneau, Stephen B. Ellis, Rajiv Nadukuru, Jinglan Zhang, Stuart A. Scott, Claudia Schurmann, Rongling Li, Laura J. Rasmussen-Torvik, Abel N. Kho, M. Geoffrey Hayes, Jennifer A. Pacheco, Teri A. Manolio, Rex L. Chisholm, Dan M. Roden, Joshua C. Denny, Eimear E. Kenny, Erwin P. Bottinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background African Americans (AA) are disproportionately affected by hypertension-related health disparities. Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) risk variants are associated with kidney disease in hypertensive AAs. Objectives This study assessed the APOL1 risk alleles’ association with blood pressure traits in AAs. Methods The discovery cohort included 5,204 AA participants from Mount Sinai's BioMe biobank. Replication cohorts included additional BioMe (n = 1,623), Vanderbilt BioVU (n = 1,809), and Northwestern NUgene (n = 567) AA biobank participants. Single nucleotide polymorphisms determining APOL1 G1 and G2 risk alleles were genotyped in BioMe and imputed in BioVU/NUgene participants. APOL1 risk alleles’ association with blood pressure–related traits was tested in the discovery cohort, a meta-analysis of replication cohorts, and a combined meta-analysis under recessive and additive models after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, and estimated glomerular filtration rate. Results There were 14% to 16% of APOL1 variant allele homozygotes (2 copies of G1/G2) across cohorts. APOL1 risk alleles were associated under an additive model with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and age at diagnosis of hypertension, which was 2 to 5 years younger in the APOL1 variant allele homozygotes (Cox proportional hazards analysis, p value for combined meta-analysis [pcom] = 1.9 × 10−5). APOL1 risk alleles were associated with overall SBP (pcom = 7.0 × 10−8) and diastolic blood pressure (pcom = 2.8 × 10−4). After adjustment for all covariates, those in the 20- to 29-year age range showed an increase in SBP of 0.94 ± 0.44 mm Hg (pcom = 0.01) per risk variant copy. APOL1-associated estimated glomerular filtration rate decline was observed starting a decade later in life in the 30- to 39-year age range. Conclusions APOL1 risk alleles are associated with higher SBP and earlier hypertension diagnoses in young AAs; this relationship appears to follow an additive model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1564-1574
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2017


  • APOL1
  • allele
  • estimated glomerular filtration rate
  • genetic association studies
  • kidney disease


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