Background: Risk genes linked to the development of gout have been identified, and lifestyle factors are related to gout risk. It remains unclear whether healthy lifestyle factors can mitigate the genetic risk of gout. Therefore, we aimed to explore whether and to what extent a healthy lifestyle can mitigate the risk of gout related to genetic factors.
Methods: Within the UK Biobank, 416,481 gout-free participants (aged 37-74) were identified at baseline. Polygenic risk for gout was assessed and categorized as low (lowest tertile), middle (tertile 2), and high (highest tertile). Healthy lifestyle factors included no/moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, physical activity, and a healthy diet. Participants were categorized into three groups according to their number of healthy lifestyle factors: unfavorable (0 or 1), intermediate (any 2), and favorable (3 or 4). Data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models.
Results: Over the follow-up (median: 12.1 years), 6206 participants developed gout. Compared to low genetic risk, the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of gout was 1.44 (1.35-1.54) for middle and 1.77 (1.66-1.89) for high genetic risk. The HRs (95% CIs) of gout were 0.63 (0.59-0.67) for a favorable lifestyle and 0.79 (0.75-0.85) for an intermediate lifestyle, compared to an unfavorable lifestyle. In joint effect analysis, compared to participants with low genetic predisposition and a favorable lifestyle, the HRs (95% CIs) of gout were 2.39 (2.12-2.70)/3.12 (2.79-3.52) in those with middle and high genetic predisposition plus unfavorable lifestyle profiles, and 1.53 (1.35-1.74)/1.98 (1.75-2.24) for those with middle and high genetic predisposition plus favorable lifestyle profiles, respectively. Moreover, compared to an unfavorable lifestyle, the HRs of gout related to a favorable lifestyle was 0.64 (95% CI, 0.56-0.73) for low genetic risk, 0.65 (95% CI, 0.58-0.72) for middle genetic risk, and 0.62 (95% CI, 0.57-0.69) for high genetic risk. There was a significant additive interaction between unfavorable lifestyle and high genetic risk on gout.
Conclusions: Healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of gout and may attenuate the risk of gout related to genetic factors by almost a third.
Keywords: Gout; Healthy lifestyle; Polygenic risk; Prospective study; UK Biobank.
© 2022. The Author(s).