Genetic study points to causal link between gout and hypertension
medwireNews: A Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis presented at the EULAR 2021 Virtual Congress suggests that the association between gout and hypertension may have a causal basis.
“We know […] that gout patients have high risk for hypertension,” but “the causal relation is still unclear” given the presence of confounding factors in observational studies, Yu-Jing Chang (Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan, China) told delegates.
To address this uncertainty, the researchers analyzed genetic data from 2452 individuals with gout and 66,527 controls included in the Taiwan Biobank. A total of 0.15% of the cohort had hypertension.
Chang said that 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with gout were selected as instrumental variables, and the MR analysis “strongly suggested that the association between gout and hypertension has a causal basis,” with a significant causal effect estimate of 0.09. Sensitivity analyses using different methods found similar results.
Commenting on this study, Medicine Matters rheumatology editorial board member Fernando Pérez-Ruiz (Cruces University Hospital, Barakaldo, Spain) said the findings show “that gout may be causally associated with hypertension,” in contrast to previous MR studies finding no causal association between gout and chronic kidney disease or cardiovascular events.
He noted, however, that the study did not assess the impact of treatment, and because “most [gout] patients remain untreated or undertreated, the effect of chronic use of [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] for gout may be implicated” in the observed association.
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