Understanding the interaction of genetics and environment in triggering anti-PLA2R production in membranous nephropathy in the UK BioBank Population.

Principal Researcher – Paul Brenchley

Primary Membranous nephropathy (MN) is a rare kidney disease generally affecting men and women aged 40-70 years (2:1 ratio) Individuals present to hospital with heavy proteinuria (loss of large amounts of blood protein in the urine). Up to 80% of cases have an autoantibody (anti-PLA2R) in their blood which damages specialist cells that maintain the kidney filter. This projects seeks to understand how the genetic predisposition to MN (ie having the risk genes for MN) and environmental factors such as smoking, occupation, infection, geography interact to initiate production of the autoantibody. The project is only possible because of the availability of the UKBIObank Project (MRC, Wellcome Trust and NHS funded) based in Stockport which recruited in 2007-2010, 0.5 Million cases of the population with detailed blood and urine sampling with full clinical dataset. In our study we will be able to identify cases with just the genetic risk but who haven’t yet developed MN disease. By studing these cases, we will be able to pinpoint factors in the environment that contribute to triggering the autoantibody production to cause disease.