New insights into uric acid effects on the progression and prognosis of chronic kidney disease

Vassilis Filiopoulos, Dimitrios Hadjiyannakos, Dimosthenis Vlassopoulos
Renal Failure 2012, 34 (4): 510-20
Hyperuricemia is particularly common in patients with arterial hypertension, metabolic syndrome, or kidney disease. Its role, however, as a risk factor for both renal and cardiovascular outcomes and in the context of the well-established interrelationship between cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD) is debated. For decades high serum uric acid levels were mainly considered the result of renal dysfunction and not a true mediator of renal disease development and progression. However, recent epidemiological studies suggest an independent association between asymptomatic hyperuricemia and increased risk of arterial hypertension, CKD, cardiovascular events, and mortality. Furthermore, data from experimental models of hyperuricemia have provided robust evidence in this direction. Hyperuricemia causes increased arterial pressure, proteinuria, renal dysfunction, and progressive renal and vascular disease in rats. The main pathophysiological mechanisms of these deleterious effects caused by uric acid are endothelial dysfunction, activation of local renin-angiotensin system, increased oxidative stress, and proinflammatory and proliferative actions. A small number of short-term, single-center clinical studies support the beneficial influence of pharmaceutical reduction of serum uric acid on total cardiovascular risk, as well as on renal disease development and progression. Hyperuricemia is probably related to the incidence of primary hypertension in children and adolescents, as serum uric acid lowering by allopurinol has an antihypertensive action in this group of patients. Finally, it is clear that adequately powered randomized controlled trials are urgently required to elucidate the role of uric acid in cardiovascular events and outcomes, as well as in the development and progression of CKD.

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