The prevalence of gout appears to be rapidly increasing worldwide and is no longer a disorder suffered primarily by over-fed alcohol consumers. Emerging risk factors include longevity, metabolic syndrome, and new classes of pharmacologic agents. In some ethnic populations, no obvious risk factors can explain the high incidence of hyperuricemia and gout, suggesting a genetic liability. Studies to identify genes associated with gout have included families with defects in purine metabolism, as well as families in whom the occurrence of gout is secondary to renal disorders such as juvenile hyperuricemic nephropathy and medullary cystic kidney disease. Case-control studies of isolated aboriginal cohorts suffering from primary gout have revealed several chromosomal loci that may harbor genes that are important to the development and/or progression of gout.
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