Air Pollution Linked to Increased Rates of Kidney Disease

Regions in China with high levels of fine particulate air pollution have elevated rates of membranous nephropathy

Article ID: 656033

Released: 24-Jun-2016 9:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

Highlights• The likelihood of developing membranous nephropathy, an immune disorder of the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure, increased 13% annually over 11 years in China.• Regions with high levels of fine particulate air pollution had the highest rates of membranous nephropathy.

Newswise — Washington, DC (June 30, 2016) — While air pollution is known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, a new study indicates that it also likely causes damage to the kidneys. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), call for attention on the role of air pollution in the development of kidney disease in urban areas.

Air pollution has become a serious problem in many cities in China, but the extent of its impact on individuals’ health is unclear. To examine how particulate matter in the air is affecting kidney health, a team led by Fan Fan Hou, MD, PhD and Xin Xu, MD, PhD (Southern Medical University, in Guangzhou, China) analyzed data on kidney biopsies taken over 11 years from 71,151 patients from 938 hospitals in 282 cities across China, encompassing all age groups.

On average, the likelihood of developing membranous nephropathy, an immune disorder of the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure, increased 13% annually over the 11-year study period, whereas the proportions of other major kidney conditions remained stable. Regions with high levels of fine particulate air pollution had the highest rates of membranous nephropathy.

“Our primary finding is that the frequency of membranous nephropathy has doubled over the last decade in China. We show that the increase corresponds closely with the regional distribution of particulate air pollution,” said Dr. Hou.

Study co-authors include Guobao Wang, MD, Nan Chen, MD, Tao Lu, MD, Sheng Nie, MD, Gang Xu, MD, Ping Zhang, MD, Yang Luo, MD, Yongping Wang, MD, Xiaobin Wang, MD, PhD, Joel Schwartz, PhD, and Jian Geng, MD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled “Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Increased Risk of Membranous Nephropathy in China,” will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on June 30, 2016, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2016010093. The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.Founded in 1966, and with nearly 16,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

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