BACKGROUND: It is well established that decreased kidney function can increase blood pressure (BP), but it is unproven whether moderately elevated BP causes chronic kidney disease (CKD) or glomerular hyperfiltration. METHODS: Three hundred eleven thousand one hundred nineteen White British UK Biobank participants were included in logistic regression analyses to estimate the odds of CKD (defined as long-term kidney replacement therapy, estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR]<60 mL (min·1.73m2), or urinary albumin:creatinine ratio ≥3 mg/mmol) associated with higher genetically predicted BP using genetic risk scores comprising 219 systolic and 223 diastolic BP loci. Analyses estimating associations with clinical categories of eGFR and urinary albumin:creatinine ratio were also conducted, with an eGFR ≥120 mL (min·1.73m2) considered evidence of glomerular hyperfiltration. RESULTS: Twenty-one thousand six hundred twenty-three participants had CKD: 7781 with reduced eGFR and 15 500 with albuminuria. One thousand eight hundred twenty-eight participants had an eGFR ≥120 mL (min·1.73m2). Each genetically predicted 10 mm Hg higher systolic BP and 5 mm Hg higher diastolic BP were associated with a 37% (95% CI, 1.29-1.45) and 19% (1.14-1.25) higher odds of CKD, respectively. Associations were evident for both the reduced eGFR and albuminuria components of the CKD outcome. The odds of hyperfiltration (versus an eGFR ≥60 and <90 mL[min·1.73m2]) were 49% higher (95% CI, 1.21-1.84) for each genetically predicted 10 mm Hg higher systolic BP. Associations with CKD and hyperfiltration were similar irrespective of preexisting diabetes, vascular disease, or different levels of adiposity. CONCLUSIONS: In this general population, genetic epidemiological evidence supports a causal role of life-long differences in BP for decreased kidney function, glomerular hyperfiltration, and albuminuria. Physiological autoregulation may not afford complete renal protection against the moderate BP elevations.
albuminuria, blood pressure, body mass index, creatinine, kidney