Substantial anti-gout effect conferred by common and rare dysfunctional variants of URAT1/SLC22A12

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2021 Nov 3;60(11):5224-5232. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keab327.


Objectives: Gout, caused by chronic elevation of serum uric acid levels, is the commonest form of inflammatory arthritis. The causative effect of common and rare variants of ATP-binding cassette transporter G2 (ABCG2/BCRP) on gout risk has been studied, but little attention has been paid to the effect of common (rs121907892, p.W258X) and rare variants of urate transporter 1 (URAT1/SLC22A12) on gout, despite dysfunctional variants of URAT1 having been identified as pathophysiological causes of renal hypouricaemia.

Methods: To address this important but overlooked issue, we investigated the effects of these URAT1 variants on gout susceptibility, using targeted exon sequencing on 480 clinically defined gout cases and 480 controls of Japanese males in combination with a series of functional analyses of newly identified URAT1 variants.

Results: Our results show that both common and rare dysfunctional variants of URAT1 markedly decrease the risk of gout (OR 0.0338, reciprocal OR 29.6, P = 7.66 × 10-8). Interestingly, we also found that the URAT1-related protective effect on gout eclipsed the ABCG2-related causative effect (OR 2.30-3.32). Our findings reveal only one dysfunctional variant of URAT1 to have a substantial anti-gout effect, even in the presence of causative variants of ABCG2, a 'gout gene'.

Conclusion: Our findings provide a better understanding of gout/hyperuricaemia and its aetiology that is highly relevant to personalized health care. The substantial anti-gout effect of common and rare variants of URAT1 identified in the present study support the genetic concept of a 'Common Disease, Multiple Common and Rare Variant' model.

Keywords: Common Disease Common Variant hypothesis; Common Disease Multiple Rare Variant hypothesis; genetic risk factor; gout susceptibility; urate reabsorption transporter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Genetic Variation
  • Gout / blood
  • Gout / genetics*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organic Anion Transporters / genetics*
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Protective Factors
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins
  • SLC22A12 protein, human
  • Uric Acid