Urate (uric acid) is the final product of purine metabolism, and its antioxidant capacity has drawn attention recently for its protective role against oxidative stress. However, hyperuricemia has a known association with onset of illnesses such as gout and cardiovascular diseases. Renal urate transport mechanisms are known to be major determinants of serum urate levels, but the molecular mechanisms involved have not yet been fully elucidated. Molecular identification of a kidney-specific urate transporter SLC22A12 (URAT1) by our research group in 2002 marked the start of a subsequent compilation of information on several different molecules contributing to urate transport by the kidneys. In addition, recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies have contributed to the detection of novel candidate genes related to uric acid metabolism such as SLC2A9 (GLUT9/URATv1), ABCG2 (BCRP), SLC17A1 (NPT1), SLC17A3 (NPT4) and PDZK1. Furthermore, use of urate transporter gene-modified mice for Slc22a12 and Slc2a9 may provide clues for understanding the physiological role of each transporter. Results of recent studies on urate transport with emphasis on the relation to serum urate disorders are described in this report.
Keywords: Uric acid, organic anions, hyperuricemia, hypouricemia, benzbromarone, Nlrp3
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