Objective: To compare renal handling of uric acid in patients with primary gout with that of a control group.
Methods: A case-control study of 100 patients with primary gout and 72 healthy controls was undertaken. Creatinine clearance, uric acid clearance, 24-hour uric acid urinary excretion, fractional excretion of uric acid, excretion of uric acid per volume of glomerular filtration, urinary uric acid to creatinine ratio, and glomerular uric acid filtered load were calculated using 24-hour urine samples. After treatment with allopurinol to achieve similar glomerular filtered load of uric acid, patients were again compared with controls.
Results: Patients with gout showed lower uric acid clearance, fractional excretion of uric acid, excretion of uric acid per volume of glomerular filtration, and urinary uric acid to creatinine ratio than controls at baseline, when patients showed hyperuricemia. Although the glomerular uric acid filtered load was much higher in patients with gout than controls, 24-hour uric acid excretion was not statistically different. After treatment with allopurinol, and achieving similar uric acid filtered loads, patients still showed lower figures than controls. When patients with 24-hour urinary uric acids levels >700 mg/day were compared with controls, they had lower uric acid clearance and fractional excretion of uric acid than controls, both at baseline and after achieving similar filtered loads with allopurinol therapy.
Conclusions: Renal underexcretion is the main mechanism for the development of primary hyperuricemia in gout, but even patients showing apparent high 24-hour uric acid output show lower uric acid clearance than controls, indicating that relative, low-grade underexcretion of uric acid is at work.