Uric Acid Puzzle: Dual Role as Anti-oxidantand Pro-oxidant

Electrolyte Blood Press. 2014 Jun;12(1):1-6. doi: 10.5049/EBP.2014.12.1.1. Epub 2014 Jun 30.


Hyperuricemia is known to be associated with the presence of cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome and with the development of incipient kidney disease and an accelerated renal progression. However, an elevated uric acid level was not generally regarded as a true etiology or mediator, but an indicator of these diseases. Uric acid has recently regained the clinical interest and popularity based on emerging data suggesting the causative role of hyperuricemia in cardiovascular and renal disease. Experimental data demonstrates oxidative stress is one of the earliest phenomena observed in vascular, renal, liver cells and adipocytes exposed to uric acid. Since uric acid is one of the major antioxidants of plasma acting as a free radical scavenger and a chelator of transitional metal ion, uric acid-induced oxidative stress seems paradoxical. Data regarding the clinical implication of hyperuricemia is even more confusing, which defines hyperuricemia as a useless parameter to be eliminated from routine follow-up or a major risk factor to be therapeutic target. With a review of experimental and epidemiologic data, the presence of molecular switch to regulate the role of uric acid as anti- or pro-oxidant in different compartment of our body is suggested, which may shed light on understanding the paradoxical role of uric acid and solving the "uric acid debate".

Keywords: Anti-oxidant; Oxidative stress; Uric acid.

Publication types

  • Review