Uncovering genetic mechanisms of kidney aging through transcriptomics, genomics, and epigenomics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Joshua Rowland
  • Artur Akbarov
  • John Dormer
  • Matthew Denniff
  • Alicja Nazgiewicz
  • Priscilla Ribeiro Prestes
  • Andrzej Antczak
  • Monika Szulinska
  • Ingrid Wise
  • Ewa Zukowska-Szczechowska
  • Pawel Bogdanski
  • Adrian S. Woolf
  • Nilesh J Samani
  • Fadi J. Charchar
  • Maciej Tomaszewski


Nephrons scar and involute during aging, increasing the risk of chronic kidney disease. Little is known, however, about genetic mechanisms of kidney aging. We sought to define the signatures of age on the renal transcriptome using 563 human kidneys. The initial discovery analysis of 260 kidney transcriptomes from the TRANScriptome of renaL humAn TissuE Study (TRANSLATE) and the Cancer Genome Atlas identified 37 age-associated genes. For 19 of those genes, the association with age was replicated in 303 kidney transcriptomes from the Nephroseq resource. Surveying 42 non-renal tissues from the Genotype-Tissue Expression project revealed that, for approximately a fifth of the replicated genes, the association with age was kidney-specific. 73% of the replicated genes were associated with functional or histological parameters of age-related decline in kidney health, including glomerular filtration rate, glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, and arterial narrowing. Common genetic variants in four of the age-related genes, namely LYG1, PPP1R3C, LTF and TSPYL5, correlated with the trajectory of age-related changes in their renal expression. Integrative analysis of genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic information revealed that the observed age-related decline in renal TSPYL5 expression was determined both genetically and epigenetically. Thus, this study revealed robust molecular signatures of the aging kidney and new regulatory mechanisms of age-related change in the kidney transcriptome.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-635
Number of pages12
JournalKidney International
Issue number3
Early online date20 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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