Hyperuricemia is frequently found in association with several condition predisposing to cardiovascular events such as arterial hypertension and diabetes mellitus. This has led researchers to investigate possible pathogenetic mechanisms underlying this association. Several experimental studies and some indirect clinical evidence support a causal link between mild hyperuricemia and the developement of hypertension as well as new onset diabetes. At the tissue level, chronic exposure to increased uric acid has been shown to promote vascular changes leading to renal ischemia as well as stimulation of the renin angiotensin system. Furthermore, uric acid has been shown to promote the development of insulin resistance, hypertrglyceridemia and haepatic steatosis through pro-oxidative mechanisms. These experimental pathophysiological changes may be partly preventable by hypouricemic treatments. Whether clinical implications of these findings are confirmed by solid clinical intervention trials, mild hyperuricemia may soon change its status from risk predictor to treatment target for patients at high cardiovascular and renal risk.
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