Effect of Uric Acid–Lowering Agents on Endothelial Function: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Higher levels of serum uric acid are independently associated with endothelial dysfunction, a mechanism for incident hypertension. Overweight/obese individuals are more prone to endothelial dysfunction than their lean counterparts. However, the effect of lowering serum uric acid on endothelial dysfunction in these individuals has not been examined thoroughly. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of nonhypertensive, overweight, or obese individuals with higher serum uric acid (body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 and serum uric acid ≥5.0 mg/dL), we assigned subjects to probenecid (500–1000 mg/d), allopurinol (300–600 mg/d), or matching placebo. The primary outcome was endothelium-dependent vasodilation measured by brachial artery ultrasound at baseline and 8 weeks. By the end of the trial, 47, 49, and 53 participants had been allocated to receive probenecid, allopurinol, and placebo, respectively. Mean serum uric acid levels significantly decreased in the probenecid (from 6.1 to 3.5 mg/dL) and allopurinol groups (from 6.1 to 2.9 mg/dL) but not in the placebo group (6.1 to 5.6 mg/dL). None of the interventions produced any significant change in endothelium-dependent vasodilation (probenecid, 7.4±5.1% at baseline and 8.3±5.1% at 8 weeks; allopurinol, 7.6±6.0% at baseline and 6.2±4.8% at 8 weeks; and placebo, 6.5±3.8% at baseline and 7.1±4.9% at 8 weeks). In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, uric acid lowering did not affect endothelial function in overweight or obese nonhypertensive individuals. These data do not support the hypothesis that uric acid is causally related to endothelial dysfunction, a potential mechanism for development of hypertension.

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