May 25, 2017
Genes not kaimoana at foot of Maori gout
An international team led by University of Otago researchers has found genes that might explain why Maori and Pacific people have highest rates of gout worldwide.
About 6 percent of Maori and 8 percent of Pacific people living in New Zealand have the painful condition caused by a build up of uric acid crystals in body joints and soft tissues.
The researchers scanned DNA data from more than 1800 Maori and Pacific people.
University of Otago biochemistry professor Tony Merriman says they identified a variant of the gene ABCC4 that pointed to a reduced ability to flush uric acid from the body.
He says while gout is often blamed on too much of food items like wine or seafood, food my just be a trigger for attacks rather than the underlying culprit.
More research is warranted, such as identifying which existing medications specifically target the gene and which drugs that might be more effective in treating the condition in Maori and Pacific people.
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