Associations of Genetic Factors, Educational Attainment, and Their Interaction With Kidney Function Outcomes

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Both genetic predisposition and low educational attainment (EA) are associated with higher risk of chronic kidney disease. We examined the interaction of EA and genetic risk in kidney function outcomes. We included 3,597 participants from the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease Cohort Study, a longitudinal study in a community-based sample from Groningen, the Netherlands (median follow-up, 11 years; 1997-2012). Kidney function was approximated by obtaining estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) from serum creatinine and cystatin C. Individual longitudinal linear eGFR trajectories were derived from linear mixed models. Genotype data on 63 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, with known associations with eGFR, were used to calculate an allele-weighted genetic score (WGS). EA was categorized into high, medium, and low. In ordinary least squares analysis, higher WGS and lower EA showed additive effects on reduced baseline eGFR; the interaction term was nonsignificant. In analysis of eGFR decline, the significant interaction term suggested amplification of genetic risk by low EA. Adjustment for known renal risk factors did not affect our results. This study presents the first evidence of gene-environment interaction between EA and a WGS for eGFR decline and provides population-level insights into the mechanisms underlying socioeconomic disparities in chronic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberkwaa237
Pages (from-to)864-874
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - May-2021


  • chronic kidney disease
  • educational attainment
  • genetic risk
  • interaction
  • kidney function
  • LOCI
  • STAGE-3

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