Two-fold gout risk of persons who have a gene associated with "alcohol tolerance"


A research group revealed that persons having a gene associated with "alcohol tolerance" have a higher risk of developing gout than those who do not have the gene.  The finding was presented on May 16, 2016 in the electronic version of the scientific journal Nature*1.  Although persons who are tolerant to alcohol tend to drink a lot, the finding supporting that drinking alcohol has a risk of developing gout in a genetic level has attracted attentions.    


Hirotaka Matsuo, a lecturer of Department of Integrative Physiology and Bio-Nano Medicine, National Defense Medical College in Japan, and colleagues focused on an alcohol degrading enzyme called "ALDH2."  If a gene that produces this degrading enzyme has a genetic mutation, since the gene cannot produce the enzyme, persons who have a genetic mutation of the gene are not tolerant to alcohol.  The research team studied whether a group of 1048 male gout patients and a group of 1334 male healthy persons had the genetic mutation.  The finding was that persons who do not have the genetic mutation have a risk of developing gout 2.27 times higher than those who have the genetic mutation.   


Gout is a disorder that results from deposits of uric acid crystals, which accumulate in the joints.  The accumulations of crystals cause attacks of painful inflammation in and around joints.  Most of the gout patients are male and will become a risk factor of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.  The research group said that if persons who have a risk of developing gout are found based on the genetic mutation, they could be personally prevented from developing gout and treated for the disease.


The research group has presented on February 2, 2015 in the online version of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that although gout is one of diseases related to metabolic syndrome, a few genes would relate to development of gout*2.


*1  Identification of rs671, a common variant of ALDH2, as a gout susceptibility locus

*2  Genome-wide association study of clinically defined gout identifies multiple risk loci and its association with clinical subtypes