Kidney disease, especially when it is associated with a reduction in estimated glomerular filtration rate, can be associated with an increase in serum urate (uric acid), suggesting that hyperuricemia in subjects with kidney disease may be a strictly secondary phenomenon. Mendelian randomization studies that evaluate genetic scores regulating serum urate also generally have not found evidence that serum urate is a causal risk factor in chronic kidney disease. Nevertheless, this is countered by a large number of epidemiologic, experimental, and clinical studies that have suggested a potentially important role for uric acid in kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Here, we review the topic in detail. Overall, the studies strongly suggest that hyperuricemia does have an important pathogenic role that likely is driven by intracellular urate levels. An exception may be the role of extracellular uric acid in atherosclerosis and vascular calcification. One of the more striking findings on reviewing the literature is that the primary benefit of lowering serum urate in subjects with CKD is not by slowing the progression of renal disease, but rather by reducing the incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality. We recommend large-scale clinical trials to determine if there is a benefit in lowering serum urate in hyperuricemic subjects in acute and chronic kidney disease and in the reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in subjects with end-stage chronic kidney disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support: Supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants R01 DK108408 (R.J.J.) and R01 DK108859 (M.A.L.).
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.
- acute kidney injury
- cardiovascular mortality
- chronic kidney disease