Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 is a key enzyme in cytoprotective mechanisms against oxidative stress in the cardiovascular-renal system. The T(-413)A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and (GT)n microsatellite polymorphism in the HO-1 gene promoter modulate the HO-1 gene transcriptional activity and these polymorphisms are associated with various human diseases. We investigated the association between HO-1 promoter polymorphisms and nephropathy in type 2 diabetes. We sequenced the T(-413)A SNP and (GT)n repeat segments of the HO-1 gene promoter in 536 patients with type 2 diabetes. (GT)n alleles were divided into 2 groups: short (S, ≥25 GT repeats) and long (L, <25 GT repeats) alleles. The presence of albuminuria was used as a marker of diabetic nephropathy. Patients with the TT genotype in the T(-413)A SNP were significantly more susceptible to albuminuria development than those carrying the A allele, with an odds ratio of 1.577 (95% confidence interval, 1.088≥2.285; P=0.016). Subgroup analysis showed that patients carrying the TT genotype with long duration of diabetes (≥20 years), poor glycemic control, male gender and without hypertension had higher odds ratios for the development of albuminuria. In vitro, promoter activity of the T(-413)A SNP was higher with A allele than T allele. Regarding to the (GT)n repeats, the LL genotype showed a higher odds ratio for the development of albuminuria only in patients with hypertension when compared to the S allele. In conclusion, the T(-413)A SNP in the HO-1 promoter is significantly associated with albuminuria development in type 2 diabetes patients, especially with longer duration and poor glycemic control.
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