Researchers at the University of Nottingham studied the entire population of
Taiwan, where gout is most prevalent in the world. From the four million
people whose families they could identify, there were one million
individuals with physician-diagnosed gout. The team found that the risk for
gout was higher in people with a family history of the disease.
Dr Chang-Fu Kuo,
principal investigator of the project, said: 'Our results confirm the clinical
belief that gout strongly clusters within families'.
the risk of an individual with any first-degree relative suffering from gout is
approximately twice that of the normal population'.
increases with the number of the first-degree relatives affected. Having a twin
brother with gout carries an eight-fold risk, whereas having a parent or offspring
with gout has a two-fold risk', Dr Chang added.
Gout is a painful
inflammatory disease, mainly associated with the accumulation and deposition of uric acid or monosodium urate crystals in joints. Scientists have long known that alcohol
hinders excretion of uric acid into urine, and that certain diets contribute to
the severity of its formation.
Doherty, head of the Arthritis
Research UK Pain Centre at the University of Nottingham and
co-author of the study, said: 'We found evidence for both shared environmental
factors and genetic factors in predisposing to gout within families, with
environmental factors contributing a higher proportional risk'.
genetic and environmental factors play a role in gout pathogenesis. Having an
affected family member increases the risk but part of the risk comes from
modifiable shared environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle'.
was published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.