APOL1 Genetic Testing in Living Kidney Transplant Donors

Sumit Mohan, Ana S. Iltis, Deirdre Sawinski, James M. DuBois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The presence of 2 apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) risk variants is associated with increased risk for chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease. Inferior allograft outcomes following transplantation with kidneys from donors with 2 risk variants have also been reported. These data, coupled with anecdotal case reports and a recent cohort study of living donors, raise important questions about the potential increased kidney disease risk for living donors with APOL1 risk variants and the need for testing as part of the standard living donor evaluation process. We identify a series of questions that are central to the development of clinical policy regarding APOL1 testing of potential living kidney donors given the current uncertainty over the clinical implications of having 2 risk variants. We explore the ethical challenges that arise when determining when and to whom APOL1 testing should be offered, what potential donors should be told about APOL1 testing, how test results should be used to determine suitability for donation, if and when recipients should have access to results, and how clinical policy regarding APOL1 testing should be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • APOL1
  • allograft survival
  • apolipoprotein L1
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • ethics
  • genetic testing
  • kidney transplant
  • living donors
  • organ donation
  • racial disparities
  • risk variant


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