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, 40 (3), 355-60

Uric Acid, Hominoid Evolution, and the Pathogenesis of Salt-Sensitivity


Uric Acid, Hominoid Evolution, and the Pathogenesis of Salt-Sensitivity

Susumu Watanabe et al. Hypertension.


Humans have elevated serum uric acid as a result of a mutation in the urate oxidase (uricase) gene that occurred during the Miocene. We hypothesize that the mutation provided a survival advantage because of the ability of hyperuricemia to maintain blood pressure under low-salt dietary conditions, such as prevailed during that period. Mild hyperuricemia in rats acutely increases blood pressure by a renin-dependent mechanism that is most manifest under low-salt dietary conditions. Chronic hyperuricemia also causes salt sensitivity, in part by inducing preglomerular vascular disease. The vascular disease is mediated in part by uric acid-induced smooth muscle cell proliferation with activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and stimulation of cyclooxygenase-2 and platelet-derived growth factor. Although it provided a survival advantage to early hominoids, hyperuricemia may have a major role in the current cardiovascular disease epidemic.

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