Uric acid in hypertension and renal disease: the chicken or the egg?
After uric acid was recognized as the causative factor in gout, increased prevalence of renal disease and hypertension in this patient population caught the attention of the medical community. Thus, it has been proposed that uric acid might have caused these disorders. However, uric acid suffered a long period of ignorance in which it was considered a metabolically inert substance. However, recent years has witnessed a resurrection of interest. Experimental studies showed an association between increased uric acid and renal arteriolar disease and hypertension. These preliminary results were supported with clinical studies. However, controversy regarding the precise pathophysiologic role of uric acid in inducing hypertension and renal disease remains to be elucidated. Despite being limited at this time, a few randomized intervention studies showed that even treatment of asymptomatic hyperuricemia was beneficial in terms of blood pressure regulation and kidney function. In this review, we focus on the pathophysiologic role of uric acid in the development and progression of renal disease and hypertension. We also discuss recent clinical evidence suggesting a causal role of uric acid in these disease states. Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.