Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and the most common variant of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) globally. The economic burden of ESRD treatment with dialysis is substantial. The incidence and prevalence of ESRD in Taiwan remain the highest worldwide. Therefore, identifying genetic factors affecting kidney function would have valuable clinical implications. We performed microarray experiments and identified that ubiquitin protein ligase E3C (UBE3C) is differentially expressed in two DKD patient groups with extreme (low and high) urine protein-to-creatinine ratios. A follow-up genotyping study was performed in a larger group to investigate any specific variants of UBE3C associated with DKD. A total of 263 patients were included in the study, comprising 172 patients with DKD and 91 control subjects (patients with DM without chronic kidney disease (CKD)). Two UBE3C variants (rs3802129(AA) and rs7807(CC)) were determined to be associated with reduced kidney function. The haplotype analysis revealed that rs3802129/rs3815217 (block 1) with A/G haplotype and rs8101/rs7807 (block 2) with T/C haplotype were associated with higher risks of CKD phenotypes. These findings suggest a clinical role of UBE3C variants in DKD risk.
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