Send to

Choose Destination
Semin Nephrol. 2005 Jan;25(1):3-8.

Uric acid, evolution and primitive cultures.

Author information

Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Transplantation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


Hypertension is epidemic and currently affects 25% of the world's population and is a major cause of stroke, congestive heart failure, and end-stage renal disease. Interestingly, there is evidence that the increased frequency of hypertension is a recent event in human history and correlates with dietary changes associated with Westernization. In this article, we review the evidence that links uric acid to the cause and epidemiology of hypertension. Specifically, we review the evidence that the mutation of uricase that occurred in the Miocene that resulted in a higher serum uric acid in humans compared with most other mammals may have occurred as a means to increase blood pressure in early hominoids in response to a low-sodium and low-purine diet. We then review the evidence that the epidemic of hypertension that evolved with Westernization was associated with an increase in the intake of red meat with a marked increase in serum uric acid levels. Indeed, gout and hyperuricemia should be considered a part of the obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension epidemic that is occurring worldwide. Although other mechanisms certainly contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension, the possibility that serum uric acid level may have a major role is suggested by these studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center