Elevated serum urate levels can lead to gout and are associated with cardiovascular risk factors. We performed genome-wide association to search for genetic susceptibility loci for serum urate and gout, and investigated the causal nature of the associations of serum urate with gout and selected cardiovascular risk factors and coronary heart disease (CHD).
Methods and Results
Meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were performed in 5 population-based cohorts of the CHARGE consortium for serum urate and gout in 28,283 white individuals. The effect of the most significant SNP at all genome-wide significant loci on serum urate was added to create a genetic urate score. Findings were replicated in the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS; n=22,054). SNPs at 8 genetic loci achieved genome-wide significance with serum urate levels (p-values 4×10−8 to 2×10−242; SLC22A11, GCKR, R3HDM2-INHBC region, RREB1, PDZK1, SLC2A9, ABCG2, SLC17A1). Only two loci [SLC2A9, ABCG2] showed genome-wide significant association with gout. The genetic urate score was strongly associated with serum urate and gout (odds ratio 12.4 per 100 umol/L; p-value=3×10−39), but not with blood pressure, glucose, eGFR, chronic kidney disease, or CHD. The lack of association between the genetic score and the latter phenotypes was also observed in WGHS.
The genetic urate score analysis suggested a causal relationship between serum urate and gout but did not provide evidence for one between serum urate and cardiovascular risk factors and CHD.
Keywords: urate, gout, cardiovascular disease risk factors, genome-wide association study, Mendelian randomization