Publications Search

Search for publications by author
Search for publications by abstract keyword(s)

Differential methylation pattern of xenobiotic metabolizing genes and susceptibility to Balkan endemic nephropathy, in a cohort of Romanian patients


A severe, chronic and irreversible kidney disease affecting discrete rural populations in the Balkan Peninsula countries, Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) has been a scientific puzzle for more than half a century. Many environmental and other factors have been suggested as the primary cause and recent significant findings have linked BEN to aristolochic acids, phytotoxins derived from the plant Aristolochia clematitis, found in high density in the endemic areas. However, given that the incidence of BEN is less than 10% in affected villages, and it tends to have a family aggregation, as yet unidentified genetic factors may also play a role. To further explore this possibility, a pilot study was initiated to investigate the DNA methylation of CYP1A1, CYP1A2, NAT1, NQO1 and GSTT1 in blood samples from a group of Romanian BEN patients, compared to healthy controls and non-BEN chronic kidney disease (CKD) subjects. Our study revealed a more pronounced hypomethylation pattern in BEN and non-BEN CKD groups, compared to the healthy control group at specific CpGs across all five genes interrogated. Average methylation across the five regions investigated indicated significant differences only at GSTT1, in both BEN patients (p = 0.028) and non-BEN disease subjects (p = 0.015), relative to healthy individuals. Since GSTT1 active genotype appears to be a common feature of Serbian and Romanian BEN patients, GSTT1 epigenetic variation and increased gene activity could act as a predisposing (co)factor in BEN populations from the affected countries. BEN and non-BEN CKD groups show similar methylation patterns with exception of GSTT1 CpG8 (p = 0.046).

Type Journal
ISBN 1724-6059 (Electronic) 1121-8428 (Linking)
Authors Ivan, A.; Lam, D.; Cristea, M. I.; Telea, A.; Gruia, A. T.; Oprean, C.; Margineanu, F.; Bojin, F. M.; Saffery, R.; Paunescu, V.; Tatu, C. A.
Responsible Garvan Author Dilys Lam
Published Date 2020-02-01
Published Volume 33
Published Issue 1
Published Pages 91-100
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1007/s40620-019-00621-2
URL link to publisher's version