Uric acid is the end-product of purine catabolism. Hyperuricaemia is implicated in disorders such as gout and urolithiasis and recent epidemiological evidence suggests an association between increasing uric acid levels and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A direct causal role remains to be established but recent studies of losartan, atorvastatin and fenofibrate suggest that uric acid reduction contributes to attenuation of cardiovascular risk. Furthermore, several small studies of xanthine oxidase inhibition (the most common method of uric acid reduction) have shown improvements in measures of cardiovascular and endothelial function of a similar magnitude to those of other proven preventative strategies. This review introduces the epidemiological data, discusses strategies to lower uric acid and outlines the available clinical trial data supporting uric acid reduction as a potential and novel method of reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Uric acid, xanthine oxidase, cardiovascular disease, prevention
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