ACLY and CKD: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Introduction

    Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase (ACLY) inhibition is a therapeutic strategy under investigation for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and metabolic syndrome. Mouse models suggest that ACLY inhibition could reduce inflammation and kidney fibrosis. Genetic analysis of ACLY in chronic kidney disease (CKD) has not been performed.


    We constructed a genetic instrument by selecting variants associated with ACLY expression in the expression quantitative trait loci genetics consortium (eQTLGen) from blood samples from 31,684 participants. In a 2-sample Mendelian randomization analysis, we evaluated the effect of genetically predicted ACLY expression on the risk of CKD, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) using the CKD Genetics (CKDGen) consortium, UK Biobank, and the Finnish Genetics (FinnGen) consortium totaling 66,396 CKD cases and 958,517 controls.


    ACLY is constitutively expressed in all cell types including in whole blood. The genetic instrument included 13 variants and explained 1.5% of the variation in whole blood ACLY gene expression. A 34% reduction in ACLY expression score was associated with a 0.04 mmol/l reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P = 3.4 × 10-4) and a 9% reduced risk of CKD (stages 3, 4, 5, dialysis, or eGFR < 60 ml/min per 1.73 m2) (odds ratio [OR] = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.85-0.98, P = 0.008), but no association was observed with either eGFR or ACR.


    Mendelian randomization analyses revealed that genetically reduced ACLY expression was associated with reduced risk of CKD but had no effect on either eGFR or ACR. Further evaluation of ACLY in kidney disease is warranted.

publication date

  • July 2022