Mendelian randomization provides no evidence for a causal role of serum urate in increasing serum triglyceride levels

Academic Article


  • Background-Triglycerides and their lipoprotein transport molecules are risk factors for heart disease. Observational studies have associated elevated levels of serum urate (SU) with triglycerides and risk of heart disease. However, owing to unmeasured confounding, observational studies do not provide insight into the causal relationship between SU and triglyceride. The aim of this study was to test for a causal role of SU in increasing triglyceride using Mendelian randomization that accounts for unmeasured confounding. Methods and Results-Subjects were of European ancestry from the atherosclerosis risk in communities (n=5237) and Framingham heart (n=2971) studies. Mendelian randomization by the 2-stage least squares regression method was done with SU as the exposure, a uric acid transporter genetic risk score as instrumental variable, and triglyceride as the outcome. In ordinary linear regression, SU was significantly associated with triglyceride levels (β=2.69 mmol/L change in triglyceride per mmol/L increase in SU). However, Mendelian randomization-based estimation showed no evidence for a direct causal association of SU with triglyceride concentration-there was a nonsignificant 1.01 mmol/L decrease in triglyceride per mmol/L increase in SU attributable to the genetic risk score (P=0.21). The reverse analysis using a triglyceride genetic risk score provided evidence of a causal role for triglyceride in raising urate in men (PCorrected=0.018). Conclusions-These data provide no evidence for a causal role for SU in raising triglyceride levels, consistent with a previous Mendelian randomization report of no association between SU and ischemic heart disease.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 21048181
  • Author List

  • Rasheed H; Hughes K; Flynn TJ; Merriman TR
  • Start Page

  • 830
  • End Page

  • 837
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 6