Uric acid: the oxidant-antioxidant paradox

Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids. 2008 Jun;27(6):608-19. doi: 10.1080/15257770802138558.


Uric acid, despite being a major antioxidant in the human plasma, both correlates and predicts development of obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, conditions associated with oxidative stress. While one explanation for this paradox could be that a rise in uric acid represents an attempted protective response by the host, we review the evidence that uric acid may function either as an antioxidant (primarily in plasma) or pro-oxidant (primarily within the cell). We suggest that it is the pro-oxidative effects of uric acid that occur in cardiovascular disease and may have a contributory role in the pathogenesis of these conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Oxidants / metabolism*
  • Uric Acid / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Oxidants
  • Uric Acid