The role of uric acid and other crystals in osteoarthritis

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2010 Apr;12(2):142-8. doi: 10.1007/s11926-010-0091-4.


Clinicians have long assumed that an association exists between crystal arthropathies and the presence of osteoarthritis (OA). However, studies establishing an independent association between calcium pyrophosphate or uric acid crystal disease and OA are sparse. Even less is known about a possible pathogenic relationship. Whereas some studies suggest that the relationships between crystals and OA may not be incidental and that crystal deposition may contribute to the onset and/or acceleration of OA joint damage, other authors have challenged this assertion. In this review, we provide an overview of past and current research elucidating the role of crystal deposition, including monosodium urate, calcium pyrophosphate, and other crystals, in OA. Given the clinical frequency of gout and that agents exist to modulate serum UA levels, special attention is given to the role of monosodium urate crystals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Pyrophosphate / metabolism*
  • Crystallization
  • Gout / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Joints / metabolism
  • Joints / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism*
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Uric Acid / metabolism*


  • Uric Acid
  • Calcium Pyrophosphate