APOL1 Risk Variants, Acute Kidney Injury, and Death in Participants With African Ancestry Hospitalized With COVID-19 From the Million Veteran Program.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

IMPORTANCE: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) confers significant risk of acute kidney injury (AKI). Patients with COVID-19 with AKI have high mortality rates. OBJECTIVE: Individuals with African ancestry with 2 copies of apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) variants G1 or G2 (high-risk group) have significantly increased rates of kidney disease. We tested the hypothesis that the APOL1 high-risk group is associated with a higher-risk of COVID-19-associated AKI and death. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study included 990 participants with African ancestry enrolled in the Million Veteran Program who were hospitalized with COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021 with available genetic information. EXPOSURES: The primary exposure was having 2 APOL1 risk variants (RV) (APOL1 high-risk group), compared with having 1 or 0 risk variants (APOL1 low-risk group). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was AKI. The secondary outcomes were stages of AKI severity and death. Multivariable logistic regression analyses adjusted for preexisting comorbidities, medications, and inpatient AKI risk factors; 10 principal components of ancestry were performed to study these associations. We performed a subgroup analysis in individuals with normal kidney function prior to hospitalization (estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m2). RESULTS: Of the 990 participants with African ancestry, 905 (91.4%) were male with a median (IQR) age of 68 (60-73) years. Overall, 392 (39.6%) patients developed AKI, 141 (14%) developed stages 2 or 3 AKI, 28 (3%) required dialysis, and 122 (12.3%) died. One hundred twenty-five (12.6%) of the participants were in the APOL1 high-risk group. Patients categorized as APOL1 high-risk group had significantly higher odds of AKI (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.95; 95% CI, 1.27-3.02; P = .002), higher AKI severity stages (OR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.37-2.99; P < .001), and death (OR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.22-3.72; P = .007). The association with AKI persisted in the subgroup with normal kidney function (OR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.15-3.26; P = .01). Data analysis was conducted between February 2021 and April 2021. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study of veterans with African ancestry hospitalized with COVID-19 infection, APOL1 kidney risk variants were associated with higher odds of AKI, AKI severity, and death, even among individuals with prior normal kidney function.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hung, AM; Shah, SC; Bick, AG; Yu, Z; Chen, H-C; Hunt, CM; Wendt, F; Wilson, O; Greevy, RA; Chung, CP; Suzuki, A; Ho, Y-L; Akwo, E; Polimanti, R; Zhou, J; Reaven, P; Tsao, PS; Gaziano, JM; Huffman, JE; Joseph, J; Luoh, S-W; Iyengar, S; Chang, K-M; Casas, JP; Matheny, ME; O'Donnell, CJ; Cho, K; Tao, R; Susztak, K; Robinson-Cohen, C; Tuteja, S; Siew, ED; VA Million Veteran Program COVID-19 Science Initiative,

Published Date

  • April 1, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 182 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 386 - 395

PubMed ID

  • 35089317

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8980930

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2168-6114

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.8538


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States