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J Rheumatol. 2009 Feb;36(2):378-84. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.080646.

Serum uric acid is associated with carotid plaques: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study.

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  • 1Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, 650 Albany Street, Suite X-200, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



To examine the association of serum uric acid (SUA) with a marker of preclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD), carotid atherosclerotic plaques (PLQ), where early evidence of risk may be evident, focusing on individuals without CV risk factors.


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study is a multicenter study designed to assess risk factors for heart disease. PLQ were assessed with carotid ultrasound. We conducted sex-specific logistic regression to assess the association of SUA with presence of PLQ, including analyses among persons without risk factors related to both CVD and hyperuricemia.


In total, 4,866 participants had both SUA and carotid ultrasound assessed (54% women, mean age 52 yrs, mean body mass index 27.6). The association of SUA with PLQ increased with increasing SUA levels, demonstrating a dose-response relation for men [OR 1.0, 1.29, 1.61, 1.75, for SUA categories < 5 (reference), 5 to < 6, 6 to < 6.8, >or= 6.8 mg/dl, respectively; p = 0.002]. Similar associations were found in men without CV risk factors. We found no relation of SUA with PLQ in women.


In this large study, SUA was associated with carotid atherosclerotic plaques in men. Results were similar in the absence of CV risk factors. These results suggest that SUA may have a pathophysiologic role in atherosclerosis in men.

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