Black women in the United States and Africa are at an increased risk for preeclampsia. Allelic variants in the gene for apolipoprotein LI, APOL1, are found only in populations of African ancestry, and have been shown to contribute significant risk for kidney disease. Recent studies suggest these APOL1 variants also may contribute risk for preeclampsia.
The association of preeclampsia with carriage of APOL1 risk alleles was evaluated in a case-control study of deliveries from black women at a single center in Cleveland, Ohio that included gross and histopathologic evaluations of placental tissues (395 cases and 282 controls). Using logistic regression models, associations between fetal APOL1 genotype and preeclampsia were evaluated using several case definitions based on prematurity and severity of preeclampsia, with uncomplicated term pregnancies as controls. Associations between APOL1 genotype and pathological features were also examined.
The infant APOL1 genotype was significantly associated with preeclampsia in a dominant inheritance pattern with odds ratio of 1.41 (P=0.029, 95% CI 1.037, 1.926). Stratifying preeclampsia cases by preterm birth, significant associations were detected for both recessive (O.R.=1.70, P=0.038) and additive (O.R.=1.33, P=0.028) inheritance patterns.