Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) results in successful suppression of HIV and a decrease of AIDS progression, people living with HIV (PLWH) experience a higher incidence of chronic diseases and shorter expectancy of life. Chronic kidney disease (CKD), which emerged as a common complication of both HIV infection and its treatment, has been a critical cause of shortened life span in PLWH. The pathogenesis of HIV- related CKD is multifactorial, linked to direct exposure to HIV viremia, superinfections, the systemic immune response to infection and ART regiments, as well as to traditional CKD risk factors. Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development and progression of CKD, and affect biological functions and pathways at multiple molecular levels. Research continues to suggest that epigenetic changes may play a pivotal role in the pathology of CKD and HIV infection. Integrated with other molecular layers, such as host genome and transcriptome, epigenome can mediate genetic, environmental and physiological effects, and can potentially influence kidney function. However, the epigenomic and multi-omic impacts on kidney function and disease have not been investigated at population level, particularly among people of African ancestry who experience high burden of CKD but underrepresented in multi-omics research. We will identify and replicate epigenetic predictors of kidney function using a longitudinal epigenome-wide approach (Aim 1). We will also examine genetic factors associated with epigenetics and kidney disease to elucidate mediation, modification and causal inference between genetics, DNAm and kidney function (Aim2). We will conduct integrative multi-omics analyses to genes, pathways and molecular system related to eGFR (Aim 3). Knowledge learned from this study will potentially improve long-term clinical outcomes of PLWH, promote precision medicine for HIV treatment, and support high priority topics in HIV/AIDS research.

Public Health Relevance

Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) results in successful suppression of HIV and a decrease of AIDS progression, a substantial proportion of people living with HIV have elevated risk for chronic kidney disease, which leads to increased mortality. To thoroughly investigate the molecular system influencing kidney function and disease, we will conduct a longitudinal study using multi-omics approaches (i.e., epigenomics, genomics and transcriptomics) and methods of causal inference. This study aims to identify and replicate epigenomic markers and their related molecular functions to understand inter-individual variability of kidney function and chronic kidney disease, and to identify novel targets for improved treatment and prevention among people living with HIV of African ancestry.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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HIV Comorbidities and Clinical Studies Study Section (HCCS)
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Kimmel, Paul
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Emory University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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