Heritability of urinary traits that contribute to nephrolithiasis

John C. Lieske, Stephen T. Turner, Samuel N. Edeh, Jennifer A. Smith, Sharon L.R. Kardia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Kidney stones and their risk factors aggregate in families, yet few studies have systematically estimated heritabilities and genetic correlations of the numerous urinary traits associated with risk of kidney stones. Design, setting, participants, & measurements: Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy cohort of families in Rochester, Minnesota, to measure urinary determinants of supersaturation. Diet was assessed using the Viocare food frequency questionnaire. Heritabilities and genetic correlations among the urinary traits were estimated using variance components methods. Results: Samples were available from 811 individuals (344 men, 467 women; mean age 66±69 years). Age, sex, and weight were significantly correlated with the majority of urinary traits. Many urine excretions (calcium, magnesium, citrate excretion) had strong evidence for heritability (P<0.01) both before and after adjusting for the identified covariates. Among significantly heritable urinary traits, genetic factors explained 20%-36% of inter-individual variation after adjustment for covariates. Urinary calcium excretion was significantly genetically correlated with urinary magnesium and with urinary citrate excretion (P<0.05). Although eGFR influenced many urinary traits, controlling for eGFR did not greatly affect estimated heritabilities. Conclusions: Evidence from this cohort suggests a strong heritable component to many urinary nephrolithiasis risk factors. Further study of genetic influences on urinary traits relevant for kidney stone pathogenesis is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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