Uric acid and chronic renal disease: Possible implication of hyperuricemia on progression of renal disease

Duk Hee Kang, Takahiko Nakagawa

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130 Scopus citations


Although hyperuricemia has long been associated with renal disease, uric acid has not been considered as a true mediator of progression of renal disease. The observation that hyperuricemia commonly is associated with other risk factors of cardiovascular and renal disease, especially hypertension, has made it difficult to dissect the effect of uric acid itself. However, recent epidemiologic evidence suggests a significant and independent association between the level of serum uric acid and renal disease progression with beneficial effect of decreasing uric acid levels. Furthermore, our experimental data using hyperuricemic animals and cultured cells have provided robust evidence regarding the role of uric acid on progression of renal disease. Hyperuricemia increased systemic blood pressure, proteinuria, renal dysfunction, vascular disease, and progressive renal scarring in rats. Recent data also suggest hyperuricemia may be one of the key and previously unknown mechanisms for the activation of the renin-angiotensin and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) systems in progressive renal disease. Although we must be cautious in the interpretation of animal models to human disease, these studies provide a mechanism to explain epidemiologic data that show uric acid is an independent risk factor for renal progression. Although there is no concrete evidence yet that uric acid bears a causal or reversible relationship to progressive renal disease in humans, it is time to reevaluate the implication of hyperuricemia as an important player for progression of renal disease and to try to find safe and reasonable therapeutic modalities in individual patients based on their clinical data, medication history, and the presence of cardiovascular complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grant R04-2002-000-00183-0 from the Basic Research Program of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (D.-H.K.).


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