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Coffee & Health

Y Shirai et al, 2022. Coffee Consumption Reduces Gout Risk Independently of Serum Uric Acid Levels: Mendelian Randomization Analyses Across Ancestry Populations, ACR Open Rheumatology, published online.

April 4, 2022


The effects of coffee consumption on serum uric acid (SUA) levels and gout risk are controversial. There have hitherto been no reports based on Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis of its effects that consider pleiotropy. Here, we evaluated the effects of coffee consumption across ancestry populations, taking pleiotropy into account.

We performed the first MR analyses for coffee consumption on SUA levels and gout, considering pleiotropy. We used the following summary statistics of genome-wide association studies from a Japanese population: habitual coffee consumption (152,634 subjects), gout (3053 cases and 4554 controls), and SUA levels (121,745 subjects). In addition to fixed-effect inverse variance weighted (IVW) meta-analysis, we performed a robust evaluation of heterogeneity and removed several instruments for reasons of possible pleiotropy. Previous European datasets were also reevaluated while heterogeneity was considered.

Habitual coffee consumption was significantly and inversely associated with gout (odds ratio [OR] = 0.29, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.16-0.51, P = 1.9 × 10-5 ) in random-effect IVW (Phet = 5.5 × 10-19 ). Excluding pleiotropic instruments, the protective effect on gout was confirmed in fixed-effect IVW analysis (OR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.58-0.97, P = 0.026) without heterogeneity (Phet = 0.39). However, we observed no significance in the previous European datasets when heterogeneity was considered. Associations were not observed between coffee consumption and SUA levels in either ancestry in MR analyses that considered pleiotropy. Multivariable MR analysis showed that increased coffee consumption significantly reduced gout risk, even after adjusting for SUA levels (OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.31-0.81, P = 0.0046).

With pleiotropy taken into account, our MR analyses revealed that coffee consumption can causally reduce gout risk, and that it may reduce gout risk independently of SUA levels.

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