Objective: To test whether prenatal exposure to earthquake (as a surrogate for acute prenatal stress) could have unfavorable effects on uric acid levels later in life. Methods: We included 536 individuals who had been prenatally exposed to the Tangshan earthquake in 1976, and 536 sex- and age-matched individuals without that exposure. Serum uric acid concentrations were measured based on fasting blood samples, which were repeatedly collected in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Mean uric acid concentrations in 2010 and the increasing rate from 2006 to 2010 were compared between the 2 groups, after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, serum concentrations of glucose, triglycerides, C-reactive protein level, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and other potential confounders. We also used multiple logistic regression to estimate the risk of hyperuricemia (>416 μmole/liter in men or >357 μmole/liter in women) in 2010 by calculating the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) after adjustment for the previously mentioned covariates. Results: Participants with prenatal exposure to the earthquake had higher concentrations of serum uric acid (adjusted means 315 μmole/liter versus 296 μmole/liter; P = 0.001) and a higher likelihood of having hyperuricemia (multivariate adjusted OR 1.70 [95% CI 1.09–2.66]) in 2010 relative to those without the exposure. Prenatal exposure to the earthquake was consistently significantly associated with a faster increase in uric acid concentration from 2006 to 2010 (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Prenatal exposure to the earthquake was associated with higher serum uric acid and higher odds of hyperuricemia in early adulthood.
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