Although a genetic predisposition to gout has been recognised for centuries, its mechanism has never been defined. This study was designed to determine whether this factor might be the renal clearance of urate, which is an important determinant of the concentration of urate in serum. In this study the renal clearance of urate was examined in 37 pairs of normouricaemic twins to determine whether this resemblance was genetically mediated. Monozygotic twins had more similar values of urate clearance and fractional excretion of urate than dizygotic twins. The heritability of the renal clearance of urate was estimated as about 60% (95% confidence limits 40 to 100%), whereas the heritability of the fractional excretion of urate was 87% (confidence limits 45 to 100%). This study supports the hypothesis that genetic factors exert an important control on the renal clearance of urate, which determines some of the familiarity of hyperuricaemia and gout.
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