London, Oct 1 : Two new genes have been identified and the involvement of a third is confirmed in increasing the risk of higher levels of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to gout, a common, painful form of arthritis, according to a new study.
All three genetic variations, taken together, are linked with up to a 40-fold increased risk in developing gout, reports Lancet. According to the findings, genetic testing could one day be used to identify individuals at risk for gout before symptoms develop, as well as determine who might benefit from medications to prevent the development of gout.
Scientists identified the genes bys using data from two large genome-wide association studies - listing genetic variations of nearly 7,700 participants and more than 4,100 participants respectively.
Later, the researchers replicated their finding using data from nearly 14,900 participants in National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC).
Gout can develop when excess amounts of uric acid build up in the blood and form crystals, which accumulate in the joints causing swelling and pain.
If left untreated over time, gout can permanently damage affected joints and, possibly, the kidneys.
The study, namely "Association of three Genetic Loci with Uric Acid Levels and Gout Risk," is published online in The Lancet.