Epidemiologic studies, animal models, and preliminary clinical trials in children implicate uric acid in the development of essential hypertension. Controversy remains as to whether the observations indicate a general mechanism or a surrogate phenomenon. We sought to determine whether uric acid is a causative mediator of increased blood pressure (BP) and impaired vascular compliance. We report a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial comparing 2 mechanisms of urate reduction with placebo in prehypertensive, obese, adolescents, aged 11 to 17 years. Subjects were randomized to the xanthine oxidase inhibitor, allopurinol, uricosuric, probenecid, or placebo. Subjects treated with urate-lowering therapy experienced a highly significant reduction in BP. In clinic systolic BP fell 10.2 mm Hg and diastolic BP fell 9.0 mm Hg in treated patients compared with a rise of 1.7 mm Hg and 1.6 mm Hg systolic and diastolic BP, respectively in patients on placebo. Urate-lowering therapy also resulted in significant reduction in systemic vascular resistance. These data indicate that, at least in adolescents with prehypertension, uric acid causes increased BP that can be mitigated by urate lowering therapy.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00288158.