A study published in PLOS ONE reports of a genetic basis for susceptibility to acute pyelonephritis, a severe form of urinary track infection. The IL-8 receptor, CXCR1, has been identified as a candidate gene in previous animal trials. In human studies, 54% of the APN prone patients had CXCR1 sequence variants. The UTI prone children expressed less CXCR1 protein than the pediatric controls (p<0.0001) and two sequence variants were shown to impair transcription. From the Science Daily report:
The gene in question produces a protein that is involved in the immune defence system. It regulates the migration of white blood corpuscles to the kidneys and their work with neutralizing infectious bacteria. The Lund team has previously shown that the gene protects against renal pelvis inflammation in animal experiments. Now, in studies of children and adults with recurrent renal pelvis infections, they have also shown that mutations of this very gene are much more common in kidney patients than in healthy control individuals.
“We also saw that even patients without genetic changes have low levels of this protein. Therefore, a combination of a genetic examinations and a protein measurement could be a good way to find those who are most clearly in the risk zone,” says Catharina Svanborg.