Purpose of review: Although gout and hyperuricemia have received considerable attention recently, there is limited information on the two conditions in young people. The molecular mechanisms of hyperuricemia have been investigated extensively in recent years, with this knowledge providing new insights and a better understanding of the precocious onset of gout and hyperuricemia.
Recent findings: Serum uric acid levels are higher in the younger generation compared with the older generation. A proportion of gout and hyperuricemia in childhood is due to inborn errors in purine metabolism. Extensive investigation has demonstrated genetic polymorphisms in the urate transporter associated with hyperuricemia and gout. Whether or not polymorphisms affect the onset of gout and hyperuricemia in young people is unclear. Uric acid levels in childhood have also been shown to correlate with the development of the metabolic syndrome.
Summary: Elevations in serum uric acid levels in childhood are often associated with other diseases and allied conditions. Hyperuricemia in young individuals is often a marker of the metabolic syndrome. Gout is not common in childhood compared with adulthood, and careful consideration of inborn errors of metabolism should be considered in these cases.