Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

BCL2 genetic variants are associated with acute kidney injury in septic shock*

Frank, Angela J. MD; Sheu, Chau-Chyun MD; Zhao, Yang MD, PhD; Chen, Feng PhD; Su, Li BSc; Gong, Michelle N. MD, MS; Bajwa, Ednan MD, MPH; Thompson, B. Taylor MD; Christiani, David C. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182514bca
Clinical Investigations

Objective: Acute kidney injury frequently complicates septic shock and independently predicts mortality in this population. Clinical factors alone do not entirely account for differences in risk of acute kidney injury between patients. Genetic variants are likely to explain this differential susceptibility. To identify genetic variants linked to acute kidney injury susceptibility, we conducted a high-density genotyping association study in a large population of patients with septic shock.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Tertiary academic medical center.

Patients: One thousand two hundred and sixty-four patients with septic shock were analyzed to elucidate clinical risk factors associated with the development of acute kidney injury. Among them, 887 Caucasian patients were randomly split into discovery and validation cohorts and genotyped using the Illumina Human-CVD BeadChip (Illumina, San Diego, CA).

Interventions: None.

Measurements and Main Results: Six hundred and twenty-seven of the 1,264 patients with septic shock and 441 of the 887 patients with genotyping data developed acute kidney injury within the first 72 hrs of intensive care unit admission. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms were associated with acute kidney injury in both the discovery and validation cohorts. Two of these were in the BCL2 gene and both were associated with a decreased risk of acute kidney injury (rs8094315: odds ratio 0.61, p = .0002; rs12457893: odds ratio 0.67, p = .0002, both for combined data). Bcl-2 is involved in the apoptosis pathway, which has previously been implicated in acute kidney injury. Another single nucleotide polymorphism was in the SERPINA4 gene, whose protein product, kallistatin, has been linked to apoptosis in the kidney.

Conclusions: Large-scale genotyping reveals two single nucleotide polymorphisms in the BCL2 gene and a single nucleotide polymorphism in the SERPINA4 gene associated with a decreased risk of developing acute kidney injury, supporting the putative role of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of acute kidney injury.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit (AJF, EB, BTT, DCC), Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Department of Environmental Health (AJF, C-CS, YZ, FC, LS, DCC), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (C-CS), Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Division of Critical Care Medicine (MNG), Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

*See also p. 2247.

Drs. Frank and Sheu contributed equally.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Supported, in part, by NIH grants R01HL60710, ES00002, and T32HL07874.

The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.

Address requests for reprints to: David C. Christiani, MD, Harvard School of Public Health, Building 1, 14th floor, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:

© 2012 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins